The year 1931 marked a milestone in the history of Sri Lanka, with women receiving the right to vote and get involved in politics. However today, the representation of women in local politics has been the lowest among the South Asian nations. Sri Lanka is ranked 180 out of 190 in the IPU ranking of female representation in Parliament as of July 2017, which of course was reason to raise concern.
The Parliament passed the Local Authorities Elections Act No. 1 of 2016, to increase women’s representation at the local govt level as an advancing step to improve women involvement in politics. Until the amendment passed in 2016, the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act No. 22 of 2012 only provided for a 25% non-mandatory quota for both women and youth. Following the Amendment, a 25% mandatory quota for women was introduced, by increasing the total number of seats at the local authority level by one-third which is an optimistic result.