Sri Lanka lifts 39-year-old ban on women buying alcohol, govt says aim is to 'restore gender neutrality'

Sri Lanka has lifted a 39-year ban on women buying alcohol or working in places that sell or manufacture liquor

AFP January 15, 2018 07:29:15 IST
Sri Lanka lifts 39-year-old ban on women buying alcohol, govt says aim is to 'restore gender neutrality'

Colombo: Sri Lanka has lifted a 39-year ban on women buying alcohol or working in places that sell or manufacture liquor, an official said on Sunday.

The 1979 law prohibiting the sale of any type of alcohol to women on the island of 21 million people was overturned in an effort to strike sexist bills from the statute books, said a spokesman for the finance ministry.

"The idea was to restore gender neutrality," Ali Hassen told AFP of the decision Wednesday to roll back the ban.

Sri Lanka lifts 39yearold ban on women buying alcohol govt says aim is to restore gender neutrality

Representational image. PTI

The move also repeals a ban on women working in places where alcoholic drinks are made or sold, like bars.

Liquor vendors are still forbidden to sell spirits to police or members of the armed forces in uniform, Hassen said.

Sri Lanka in its November budget unveiled steep tax rises on hard liquor, but greatly reduced tariffs on wine and beer.

Under new measures also passed by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, bars and pubs can remain open longer.

It was unclear why the ban on women was imposed in the first place, but a finance ministry official said he believed it was intended to appease the conservative Buddhist hierarchy at the time.

The relaxed laws on alcohol have provoked a backlash in some quarters of the majority-Buddhist nation.

The National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection accused the finance minister of encouraging drinking, and urged President Maithripala Sirisena to intervene and restore the restrictions.

Samaraweera has said that strict curbs on Sri Lanka's licenced liquor manufacturers only encourage a black market for spirits, and deprive the state of much-needed revenue.

Updated Date:

also read

Sri Lanka vs West Indies: Ramesh Mendis the pick of bowlers as hosts four wickets away from big win in first Test
First Cricket News

Sri Lanka vs West Indies: Ramesh Mendis the pick of bowlers as hosts four wickets away from big win in first Test

The fourth day's play was delayed by one hour due to rain. A total of 52 overs were lost on day three due to rain.

Sri Lanka vs West Indies: Windies avoid follow on on rain-hit Day 3 as hosts continue to dominate Galle Test
First Cricket News

Sri Lanka vs West Indies: Windies avoid follow on on rain-hit Day 3 as hosts continue to dominate Galle Test

Only 38 overs were played, and the better part of two sessions lost, with West Indies 224/9 at close of play, training Sri Lanka by 162 runs.