Minnette de Silva is woman forgotten by history. Her groundbreaking work in Tropical Modernism is not recognised nor preserved. Her buildings, apart from a few, are left to crumble. Was this only because she was woman in a male-dominated industry or are there other factors at play?
The implementation of a 25% quota for female candidates during the local government elections in February 2018 saw over 2,000 women elected to government positions —a significant improvement for a country with one of the lowest levels of female representation in politics. However, the quota has revealed many other barriers women face in politics, and prompts the need for further measures to even the odds.
While heading towards Giriulla on the B322 in the Northwestern Province, you come across the rather sleepy town of Nalla. Falling between Giriulla and Kotadeniyawa, Nalla is remote and out of the way, with just a few kades (kiosks) scattered every few kilometres. Aside from the soupçon of families that have lived here for generations, others arrive at this halfway town in search of greener pastures. At the halfway point of this halfway town is a petrol station like no other.
In September 2017, a group of fashion designers from the Parsons School of Design in New York and the California College of the Arts, arrived in Sri Lanka to meet women from the apparel industry. “This will be my first time meeting women working in a garment factory,” Ioli Tzouka, a student of the Parsons School of Design said. What the students didn’t expect was to be moved so strongly by what they saw.
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