The Financial Express

Sri Lanka legally bars women from buying alcohol

| Updated: January 16, 2018 16:21:16

Sri Lanka legally bars women from buying alcohol

Sri Lanka has legally barred women from buying alcohol, a right preserved only to men.

A move to grant women to buy alcohol legally has been overruled by President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday.

He told a rally he had ordered the government to withdraw the reform, which would also have allowed women to work in bars without a permit.

The government announced on Wednesday it was amending a 1955 law, agreeing that it discriminated against women.

It would have allowed women over the age of 18 to buy alcohol legally for the first time in more than 60 years.

Critics have accused the president of not taking gender equality seriously, reports BBC.

Leading monks in the Buddhist-majority country had criticised the decision to lift the ban, arguing it would destroy Sri Lankan family culture by getting more women addicted to alcohol.

Saying he had listened to criticism of the government's step, President Sirisena told the rally he had ordered the government to withdraw its notification announcing the lifting of the ban.

It came as no surprise to some as he runs an anti-alcohol campaign and has warned in the past that alcohol consumption among Sri Lankan women is increasing "drastically".

Mr Sirisena has encouraged women in the country to play a more active part in politics, boasting last year that his government had acted to ensure more women were returned at future elections.

According to World Health Organization data from 2014, 80.5 per cent of women never drink, compared to 56.9 per cent of men.

Less than 0.1 per cent of women above the age of 15 are prone to heavy drinking, compared with 0.8 per cent of men in the same age bracket.

A majority of women in Sri Lanka traditionally choose not to drink alcohol as they see it as contrary to Sri Lankan culture.

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