Seminar: "Gendering ‘the Legal Complex’ - Women in Sri Lanka’s Legal Profession"

June 2019

In June 2019, Dr Dinesha Samararatne gave a presentation on "Gendering ‘the Legal Complex’: Women in Sri Lanka’s Legal Profession" at the Women in Asia Conference. The Asian Studies Association of Australia convenes a conference on Asian Studies biannually. In 2019, the Conference was hosted by the University of New South Wales, Australia.

Dinesha present her paper as part of a "Women in Law" panel. Over the two days of the Conference, the Women in Law panel was a forum in which several critical questions were raised and discussed. These questions included questions regard women’s inclusion, visibility and contribution in the judiciary and in the legal profession.

Dinesha's paper examined the experiences of pioneering women in Sri Lanka’s legal institutions in answering the following questions: What were the internal structures of the profession that the older generations of women lawyers encountered as they entered the profession and as they took up positions of leadership? In what ways was the ‘culture(s)’ within the legal profession patriarchal, if it was at all? In what ways, if any, did the entry and advancement of women impact these internal structures of the legal profession and its culture(s)? And what can be learned from these experiences in predicting the future trajectory of the legal profession?