Former Cricketer Roshan Mahanama Says He Will Support Anyone Ensuring Gender Equality In Sri Lanka:Says #PadMan Initiative Needs Support

November 06, 2019

Former Sri Lankan cricketer Roshan Mahanama said he would support anyone ensuring that gender equality is a norm in Sri Lanka.

Gender issue has become a hot topic in Sri Lankan media with Presidential candidate promising to provide women with sanitary products free of charge.

In a Facebook post, Mahanama said, "Gender equality should not be limited to social media activism or corporate culture. Gender equality means providing women and girls with equal access to education, healthcare and job opportunities, and giving them a voice as the 52% majority in this country to represent themselves in political and economic decision making.

Women’s rights are more than a presidential campaign issue, but a presidential campaign certainly sets the required stage to spread awareness of focus areas that are impeding the progress of women and girls in Sri Lanka. The lack of access to basic sanitation and sanitary products impacts school attendance, women’s education and participation in the work force, because even today, in the 21st century, a basic female biological function is wrapped in secrecy and shame resulting from centuries of misogyny and stigma. As a society, we will never break these taboos until and unless we start talking about them.

As a father to three daughters, I firmly believe that us men have an important role to play in ensuring our societies and our leaders remain committed to bringing about gender equality in Sri Lanka. The #padman hashtag has created much needed awareness among today’s digital population but we must also remember to not let it stop at becoming a social trend or meme. It is an initiative that needs our support, our understanding and most importantly our acceptance – not our prejudice. We should continue this conversation and show fast results by making female hygiene products and facilities affordable and accessible to all girls and women in Sri Lanka.

I would also like to take this opportunity to bring your attention to other marginalized groups that need your support, other causes that I have supported over the years that need more widespread awareness among our local communities. Social exclusion and inequality has marginalized people with physical disabilities and impairments, mental illnesses, combat veterans, cultural minorities, and especially abused and orphaned children. We must work together to create equal opportunities to all individuals regardless of political bias, race, colour, sex, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other factor.

I will pledge my support to any initiative that ensures my granddaughter grows up in a country that considers gender equality a norm, and not a hashtag."

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