Sex ratio and vulnerability in northern and eastern provinces in Sri Lanka
|Silva, Kalinga Tudor
|Sri Lanka -- sex ratio; Sri Lanka -- Gender relations; Sri Lanka -- gender violence; Sri Lanka -- vulnerability; Sri Lanka -- north; Sri Lanka -- east; Sri Lanka -- ethnic relations; Sri Lanka -- cultural relations; Sri Lanka -- social conditions; Sri Lanka -- women -- violence against
|"Using results of the 1981 and 2012 population censuses in Sri Lanka, the current study examined the impact of the war on the population dynamics in the Northern and Eastern provinces with a focus on changes in the sex ratio. In the next phase of the analysis the results of Focus Group Discussions and Key Informant Interviews conducted as part of the Strategic Social Assessment were used to assess the connection between the imbalances in the sex ratio in the population and perceptions and experiences of vulnerability among women and communities in general. The imbalances in the sex ratio were not uniform across all ethnic groups in the population. As a combined outcome of war-related mortality, selective outmigration of males and higher life expectancy among women, the Tamil communities consistently reported an excess of females over males, particularly in working ages and in elderly populations. In contrast, the Muslim and Sinhala communities, particularly in border areas, reported an excess of males over females and elderly over youth. This may be seen as an outcome of a strategic decision by the relevant families to split the family between relocated sites and resettlements in ways that enabled them to access better resources in relocated sites as well as access assistance for housing and resettlement in the resettlement areas. The female surplus in Tamil communities and elderly male surplus in Sinhala and Muslim communities generated specific challenges for post-war recovery and development as well as perceived and actual vulnerabilities at the community level. The second part of this report explores these perceived and actual vulnerabilities on the basis of FGDs and KIIs. Given the female surplus in Tamil communities and their concerns about security, marriageability, unequal gender relations, and viable livelihoods, economic and social development policies must recognize and respond to their specific concerns and needs. While female surplus in the population may be strategically important from the angle of empowerment of women and addressing unequal gender relations, that potential is yet to be recognized and realized. The gender and generation imbalances in Sinhala and Muslims communities pose a different set of problems in terms of post-war recovery and policies relating to resettlement of war-displaced people. Perhaps it would be desirable to revisit some of the policies relating to resettlement of people in the light of the findings of the current study. While the declared objective of encouraging displaced people to return to their original places is understandable from the perspective of community interests and the need to reconnect with ancestral lands and heritages, the tendency in the affected families to split for the purpose of accessing resources in two widely separated areas is neither desirable nor effective for post-war recovery, social harmony within the families, and building social capital. "
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