The importance of maintaining a Gender Perspective in the Medium-Term Strategy for Official Languages Policy Implementation

NLEAP organises workshops for Partner Institutes to build awareness about the gender components in the Strategy Framework for Languages Policy

NLEAP, in collaboration with its Partner Institutions, organised sessions for their team members to raise awareness about how Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment factored in the Strategy Framework for the Implementation of the Official Languages Policy and the medium-term implementation plans of their organization.

The Constitution of Sri Lanka while providing for Sinhala and Tamil as Official Languages, and National Languages, defines language as a fundamental right of all citizens. This guarantees women and men the right to equality before the law and the equal protection of the law. However, impacted  by various factors like  ethnicity, and social, cultural, and economic standing, women and men in Sri Lanka have diverse experiences in the realization of their language rights. Women in particular experience further marginalisation and exclusion in comparison to men.

Ensuring that both women and men enjoy their Language Rights in a gender sensitive manner is an imperative for the main stakeholders and policy makers in the Language Sector –  the National Languages Division of Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government, the Official Languages Commission, Department of Official Languages, and National Institute of Language Education and Training. One of the main objectives in the Strategy Framework for the Implementation of the Official Languages Policy (SFI OLP) is to enhance the capacity of government institutions to deliver bilingual services in a gender-sensitive manner.

Helping team members understand how the GEWE components of the overall strategy for the language sector impacted their own institution was one of the expressed wishes of the Ministry. The leadership of the NLEAP partner institutions, explaining to their teams why maintaining a Gender perspective was critical to the successful implementation of the Languages Policy, encouraged full participation and engagement in the session.

Ms Saama Rajakaruna ( Local Gender Equality Specialist – NLEAP) first walked the team members through the GEWE components in the SFI OLP before then focusing on how these components translated into the medium term plan of their respective organization. The Gender Focal Points then shared with their colleagues the role they have been entrusted with to ensure the mainstreaming of GEWE.

The collaborative and inclusive style of participation advocated by NLEAP is one of its distinct features. It is based on the recognition that any lasting change needs the participation of a whole community and network of people working towards a common goal. These GEWE sessions were critical to helping people understand how their individual roles fitted into, contributed to, and could possibly augment, the plans to develop an inclusive society that respects the Language rights of all its citizens.

Spread the love