During the recent budget debate in November 2020, the Women’s Caucus of the Ninth Parliament, took the lead to aggressively debate the issue of Period Poverty in Parliament. They had round table meetings to discuss the issues surrounding period poverty and addressed the State Minister in charge to protest this taxation, and alternatively proposing that sanitary napkins be provided free-of-charge for all school girls at least, of whom at least 65% hail from ‘low-income’ families.
As a result, the government has accepted the policy recommendation made by the Caucus, and has announced that from 2021 onwards, sanitary napkins for school girls will be provided free-of-charge benefiting at a minimum 1.2 million school girls between the ages of 10 -19 years.
This is a huge achievement for Sri Lanka socially, politically and economically when the Caucus as a collective invoked the attention of the Government and as a result,
the government came together in a multi-party way on a very topical issue to take on the recommendation for the Women Parliament’s Caucus of the Ninth Parliament.
The women’s caucus has gained traction by bringing this issue to light and debating the issue aggressively in parliament. It has brought them recognition as active parliamentarians fighting for causes, on the eve of their establishment as a formalized Caucus of the Ninth Parliament. The Women’s Caucus held their inaugural Session soon after, on the 10th of December 2020, at the close of the national budget debate.