Kshenuka surmounts 63-year gender barrier at UN mission
The Sunday Times, Sri Lanka : Sunday, August 25, 2019
At a time when the United Nations has intensified its global campaign for gender parity as part of its 2030 Development Agenda, Sri Lanka has stepped in with a “first”.
Breaking an insurmountable 63- year- old gender barrier at the Sri Lanka Mission to the United Nations, Kshenuka Dhireni Senewiratne, presented her credentials to UN Secretary- General Antonio Guterres last week. She holds Ambassadorial rank and is the new Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, succeeding Dr Rohan Perera.
Ms Senewiratne is the first woman to hold that title and follows in the heavy footsteps of 20 male Permanent Representatives led by Sir Senerat Gunewardene back in February 1956. A longstanding career diplomat, she also held the distinction of being the first female Sri Lankan High Commissioner in the UK—in what Americans call a double- header. Currently, women diplomats also outnumber the men at the Sri Lanka Mission in New York— perhaps for the first time. The three female diplomats are Rekha Gunasekera, Savitri Panabokke and Sonali Samarasinghe. The lone male holdout among diplomats is Satya Rodrigo, the deputy Permanent Representative, plus Brigadier Vijendralal Gunathilleka who is Military Adviser representing the Sri Lankan armed forces and coordinating our UN peacekeepers overseas.
As the UN would say: score one for gender empowerment.