The world seems to be sexist at its core. Sexism never seems to stop from discriminating women. It continues to deny them the same rights and privileges that men have been enjoying since the beginning of time. There are some countries that do not excise these sexist laws. At the same time, there are others that never seem to go past the 19th century.
Sri Lanka is one of those countries.
A few days ago, the government announced that the 39 year old ban against women buying alcohol would be lifted. This was after the complaints that the rules and laws on alcohol stand in between getting good tourist income. This would have amended the 1955 law of granting women the same rights to alcohol as men. This was received well by most women on social media, who even thanked the minister.
However, the move to grant women the right to purchase alcohol was overruled just days after the ban was lifted.
Sri Lanka has a 70% of a Buddhist majority and the clergy hold a great deal of power when it comes to these kinds of decisions. The president stated that many leading monks had criticized the decision to lift the ban, declaring that it would essentially destroy the culture. It was stated that the monks were worried that more women would be addicted to drinking, and thus disrupt the family structure by being unable to function as proper wives and mothers.
What would the lifting of the alcohol ban have entailed?
- Would have allowed women over the age of 18 to buy alcohol legally for the first time in 60 years.
- Would have allowed women to work at bars without a permit
- Bars would’ve stayed open for women from 0800h to 2200h instead of 0900h to 2100h.
Do Sri Lankan women drink a lot on average?
According to statistics, about 80.5% of Sri Lankan women do not consume alcohol. Only less than 1% of women are heavy alcohol consumers.
The truth of the matter is that at the core of the Sri Lankan cultural values, there is a huge understatement of women. If men are allowed to get drunk, and buy as much alcohol as they need, and sometimes go home to a battered wife, women should be allowed to go for a drink. There are virtually no cases of women acting inappropriately while drunk, so maybe it’s time to think about whom is benefited from the laws. If it is about the possible breakdown of Buddhist culture, let it be known that Buddhism does not discriminate against women drinking; it states that drinking itself is a sin, for men and women alike. So, the questions remain, why are men not being prohibited to drink? Why aren’t women given enough trust? When will the sexism end?