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Casting Pearls: The Women's Franchise Movement in Sri Lanka
Malathi de Alwis & Kumari Jayawardena
(Colombo: Social Scientists' Association, 2001)
is an account of the first struggles of women for the right to vote.The 1920s was a time of political excitement and social change, a time when universal suffering was being hotly debated and when Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan said that the Woman's Franchise Union challenged all the diehards and came out boldly for the cause of basic democratic rights for woman - namely, the right to vote, the right to contest elections and the right to sit in the legislature. Many spirited women of all ethnic groups led the movement. The opposition they faced ranged from the frivolous to the absurd, and the women reformers were well able to handle their critics and make sharp replies. But they also had the support of liberal and progressive men who believed that universal suffrage and gender equality were an essential part of democracy. By 1932, there were two women State Councilors - Adeleine Molamure and Naysum Saravanamuttu. This book is an important addition to the writings on women's history in Sri Lanka.
"This is an eminently readable book, even for those who are not specifically interested in the history of the Women's Franchise Movement, for it also sketches the Lankan scenario in the 1920s and 1930s." --Manel Tampoe