Booze ban on Sri Lankan women lifted after 60 years

Sri Lanka has finally scrapped a law that had prevented women in the country from legally purchasing alcohol or working in a licensed premise for the past sixty years.

The law will allow women aged 18 and over to legally buy alcohol and work in licensed premised for the first time in 60 years

On Wednesday the Sri Lankan government confirmed this week that it was amending a 1955 law that had prohibited the sale of alcohol to women, as reported by the BBC.

Section 12 (c) of the 1955 Excise Notification had stated: “No liquor shall be sold or given to a woman within the premises of a tavern”, which is interpreted as anywhere with a licence to sell alcohol.

The law effectively barred women from purchasing or being in possession of alcohol within an on-trade premise, preventing women, technically, from working in such venues.

While the law was not always strictly enforced, and many women in Sri Lanka choose not to drink alcohol due to cultural and religious beliefs, the change in the law has been widely welcomed.

The change to the law, which was announced by Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, will allow women aged 18 and over in the country to buy alcohol legally for the first time in 60 years, after officials agreed that the law was discriminatory.

It will also mean that women will now be allowed to legally work in places that sell alcohol, without needing the approval of the state’s excise commissioner, which included restaurants, bars and off-trade retailers.

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