Salient points and impact of the Gender Equality Bill

The Gender Equality Bill, presented by the Minister of Women, Child Affairs, and Social Empowerment in Sri Lanka, aims to address systemic gender inequalities and promote gender equality across various sectors. Here are the salient points and potential impacts of the bill:

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Salient Points of the Gender Equality Bill

  1. Purpose and Objectives:
    • The bill aims to formulate and implement a National Policy on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women.
    • It seeks to ensure gender equality for persons of different gender identities and eliminate discrimination.
    • The bill addresses the systemic and structural causes of gender inequality and gender-based discrimination, including direct, indirect, multiple, and intersectional discrimination Gender Equality Bill, page 3.
  2. Rights and Protections:
    • Ensures that every person enjoys fundamental rights and freedoms without discrimination based on sex or gender identity.
    • Mandates measures to redress disadvantages and combat marginalization, stigma, sexism, and violence.
    • Promotes human dignity and provides equal opportunities in various sectors such as education, employment, healthcare, and public services Gender Equality Bill, pages 2-3 Gender Equality Bill, page 21.
  3. Institutional Framework:
    • Establishes the Gender Equality Council to oversee the implementation of the bill’s provisions.
    • The Council comprises members from various ministries and experts in gender studies, health, human rights, and social empowerment.
    • The Council’s duties include advising the government, scrutinizing pending legislation, promoting gender equality, and reporting on progress Gender Equality Bill, pages 5-7.
  4. Ministerial Powers:
    • The Minister responsible for women and gender affairs will prescribe a framework for gender equality and issue guidelines for public and private institutions.
    • The Minister will monitor and evaluate compliance with the framework, ensuring alignment with national policies on gender equality Gender Equality Bill, pages 4-5.
  5. Gender Focal Points:
    • Each public and private institution must appoint a Gender Focal Point responsible for identifying and reporting activities related to gender mainstreaming and equality.
    • These focal points will implement policies, conduct audits, and promote gender balance within their institutions Gender Equality Bill, pages 13-14.
  6. Financial Provisions:
    • The Council will have its own Fund, with money allocated by Parliament, and may receive grants, gifts, and donations.
    • Funds will be used to defray expenses and support the Council’s activities Gender Equality Bill, pages 15-16.
  7. Enforcement and Penalties:
    • Non-compliance with the Act or regulations may result in fines or imprisonment.
    • Offenses committed by bodies corporate or firms hold respective directors, secretaries, or partners accountable unless proven otherwise Gender Equality Bill, pages 18-19.

Impact of the Gender Equality Bill

  1. Legal Recognition and Protection:
    • Provides a comprehensive legal framework to protect and promote gender equality, reinforcing constitutional guarantees.
    • Helps in mainstreaming gender equality across various sectors, ensuring that policies and practices are inclusive and non-discriminatory Gender Equality Bill, pages 1-2.
  2. Institutional Strengthening:
    • The establishment of the Gender Equality Council and the appointment of Gender Focal Points enhance the institutional capacity to address gender issues systematically.
    • Ensures continuous monitoring, evaluation, and reporting on gender equality initiatives, promoting accountability and transparency Gender Equality Bill, pages 5-7.
  3. Cultural and Social Change:
    • The bill encourages cultural shifts by addressing stereotypes, stigmas, and prejudices related to gender.
    • Promotes awareness, education, and training on gender equality, contributing to long-term societal change Gender Equality Bill, pages 7-8.
  4. Economic and Political Empowerment:
    • Provides an enabling environment for women and persons of different gender identities to participate equally in economic and political activities.
    • Supports initiatives aimed at redressing gender-based disadvantages and promoting gender balance in decision-making processes Gender Equality Bill, pages 21-22.

Sri Lanka’s highest court has shot down a government bill seeking gender equality, arguing it could set a legal precedent for the decriminalisation of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, parliament said Tuesday. The Gender Equality Bill seeks to enshrine in law equal opportunities to all “irrespective of differences in sex or gender identity”

Sri Lanka’s highest court has shot down a government bill seeking gender equality, arguing it could set a legal precedent for the decriminalisation of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, parliament said Tuesday.

The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled the bill, which sought to tackle sexism and violence, undermined conservative values on the majority-Buddhist island.

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