Women power | Sunday Observer

Women power

On March 08th, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, which gives the opportunity to celebrate the wonderful and dynamic women in our lives. Some believe that it is a day to remember women’s struggles of many decades for peace, justice, equality and development and allows them to raise their voices a for equal opportunity. Internationally, on this day the courage of women to cross all hurdles and make such tremendous improvement in all spheres of life is appreciated. Women are changing the world and doing so every day. Women’s Day is a widely discussed topic throughout the year for various reasons. Be it gender equality, gender gap or widespread of differences in different fields. Perceptions of the Youth of a country are crucial. Hence YV thought of talking to a few prominent youth icons in the country for their opinion on Women’s Day and how promising the future is for women with positive changes in society.

Anoka Abeyrathne,

Asia Pacific representative to UN Habitat YAB

“Women’s Day! Many people will wave a placard, put up a social media post or a hashtag and then forget about it, or try to pitch equality to the crowd that already believes in it. The message really needs to reach the ones who don’t. For example: on a site visit, I met a man from a village near the Thalangama Lake who was so angry about women there working out in shorts, and that it was just to get the attention of boys! What else would one wear in a 30 degree Celsius tropical country to exercise?!

It takes some serious mental strength to be a strong woman, even today, against so many odds. From being told that marriage is more important that everything else to being told that strong women are ‘bossy’ or other derogatory terms, it seems that some people tend to be afraid of women doing either better or being more well off than them.

Women have been underappreciated and underrepresented throughout history, from innovations in science to being change makers in society.

I’m glad to see that it’s changing to an extent and that more women are taking more active roles in society to bring about positive change. Let’s keep the momentum going and supporting the doers. After all it’s ridiculous to be treated differently just because of your gender.”

Natasha Rathnayake

Singer, Songwriter

“Why Women’s Day came about was because women were continually oppressed making it seem like we were the weaker sex. Society used this as a tool to condition and brain wash us in believing this garbage up to date, only to use this against us, pitting us against each other throughout the years. You’d see that throughout history right up until this day.

We are free spirits that should never conform. I’ve said it probably close to a million times before and I’m not afraid to say it again. No matter what anyone thinks or say about you, you are the only one responsible for your own life and your happiness. Then why are you allowing society to determine your life? Speak your mind, tell your truth, stand your ground, wear the clothes you want, go the places you’ve always wanted to, do the jobs you have loved doing, even if it means it’s a job society frowns upon.

Be a beautiful, LIBERAL, kick ass feminist! Stop living lives on how society thinks you should. Freedom is your birth right! When you’re born you aren’t born with all these labels or conditioned by your environment.

What needs to change is the ‘society’s concept’ that women are the weaker sex. Which is exactly what makes us more vulnerable to danger, giving the opposite sex the upper hand in thinking they can potentially abuse us as women. I personally don’t believe in this concept of “Women’s Day” only because I believe every woman is an empowered one EVERY SINGLE DAY that has the potential and capacity of greatness and can excel in any industry.

The other thing that needs to change is women throwing shade on each other. Just because others do it differently doesn’t mean they are lesser human beings.

No woman should ever need to be a threat to us, if we are living authentic lives with purpose and confidence. If we support each other we can all shine together. I wish there were more of us empowering each other rather than throw shade on each other.

It’s a powerful statement to send out to the world that we can be beautiful together!

I see myself as a Strong, Beautiful, “Liberal”, Confident Feminist that don’t care about what the world thinks of me. How about you?”

Ashini Fernando,

Teacher, Performer

“Fearless, Determination, Commitment, Heart & Guts. –That’s what girls are made of, Forget Sugar & Spice. No matter where you are in life, inspire & empower the women/girls around you!”

Sheshadri Kottearachchi,

UN Youth delegate

Sheshadri Kottearachchi

Women’s Day is a celebration of women’s achievements throughout history, across the world. However, the average woman achieves more than international fame and fortune. Women struggle every day to be excellent and when they excel, so do the people around them.

Someday, we will no longer need to celebrate gender individually. There will no longer be a ‘day’ for women or a day for men - instead we will have continuous days where we always honour and highlight the importance of being respectful, fair and kind to each other. Until then, Women’s Day ought to be a celebration of how wonderful it is to be a woman. It is a day to lend a voice to millions of women around the world who are seldom heard. Despite decades of discrimination and injustice, we are still here - stronger and more determined than ever. When women support each other, we can achieve incredible things and this is the message we should spread every day. One of my favourite quotes comes from Michelle Obama and she says “There is no limit to what we as women, can accomplish.” How true!

Happy Women’s Day.

Kavindya Tennakoon,

Co-founder, Without Borders

Kavindya Tennakoon

“Women in Sri Lanka have achieved immense feats despite the crippling patriarchy that blocks them with every passing day. We saw a huge hike in female candidates at the local government elections this year, board rooms are slowly opening its doors to female corporate leaders and conversations around domestic and sexual abuse is gaining voice.

However, there is an awful lot that remains unsaid and undone. Marital rape is still legal in Sri Lanka, a woman’s reproductive choices are still vastly restrained and even today sexist rhetoric is completely normalized from cabinet press briefings to our homes. It’s high time that we take conversations around gender equality and sex education to our schools and more importantly our parliament. This is no longer ‘her’ fight it’s ‘our’ fight.”


Isuri Dayaratne,


Isuri Dayaratne

“International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate ordinary women, who have played an extraordinary role in our community. It’s a day to think back on the progress we’ve made and to call for change and equality.”