ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 11 , 2007
Vol. 41 - No 41

Women to the fore... but not in SL parliament

Sri Lanka is the only country in South Asia which has a larger percentage of females than males receiving education. The UNICEF report “The State of the World’s Children- South Asian Edition” estimates that 96% of women receive education as against 95% of men.

Sri Lanka is only second to Maldives which has the highest literacy rate in South Asia for both males and females (98%). The literacy rates in other South Asian countries are comparatively low.

According to the estimates made in September 2006, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka are the only countries that have met the goal of gender equality in primary education whereas in countries like India, Pakistan Nepal and Afghanistan, children, mostly girls, do not get even primary education.

Regarding violence against children, Sri Lanka is the only country in South Asia which has a law to ban physical punishment in schools, according to UNICEF.

According to the report Sri Lanka has successfully combated malnutrition as well. Another stigma on South Asia is that half the world’s underweight children in South Asia suffer from malnutrition. Children, especially girls, receive less nutrition during the period of breast feeding and later, except in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Sri Lanka leads the region in respect of not having child marriages and premature parenthood. Many marriages in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan involve adolescent girls, or rarely, adolescent boys, whereas in Sri Lanka, the average age for first marriage for a female is 25.

The UNICEF report has stated that legislation requiring all marriages be registered and the consent of both partners recorded were reasons for this positive facet in Sri Lanka.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.