Unsurprisingly, it has all to do with “values and culture”. Just when you thought the country was moving forward from all the regressive and patriarchal practices, the dreams go down in ditches.
What happened was one week back Sri Lankan Finance Minister revoked the 38-year-old ban on women buying alcohol and being employed at a place that offers alcohol. He also made amended regulations to allow liquor outlets to stay open until late hour, till 10 pm. This was done on the request of tourism industry, and to ensure equal rights for women.
Sadly, just few days later, the cabinet decided to reinstate the ban. Government spokesman and health minister Rajitha Senarathna said to the reporters, “Alcohol is not a requirement of women in this country. This is against our culture.”
Making alcohol consumption has always been a controversial and sensitive issue in Sri Lanka where religious leaders play a major role. Even when government takes initiatives to liberalize the society, the opposition goes against it to win brownie points among voters.
In the name of “culture” and “values” I see many countries holding its progress back. These are the countries that have been taught to take proud in regressive values and be offended if there’s anything that doesn’t fit the culture. And it all has to do a lot to the nations’ politics.