Pregnant Educator Turned Away From Provincial Education Department For Wearing A Knee-Length Skirt

A heavily pregnant educator was rudely turned away from the Western Province Education Department premises today for wearing a skirt that was deemed “too short” by the authorities there.

Sulochana Dissanayake, a theatre and economics major of Bates College, USA, who is founder and artistic director of Power of Play, an initiative that promotes performing arts as a tool of communication, development and reconciliation, was there for a meeting with the provincial director of primary education, to request access to low income primary schools to tour a puppet show on the importance of gender parity.

“I arrived by 8.30am and was seated in the waiting area when a security guard sheepishly told me that my skirt was inappropriate and could I please wait outside? I answered that I was a 6 months pregnant and I chose my attire for my comfort and if anyone has a problem with it they can speak directly to me,” Dissanayake, who is married to Reuter’s photographer Dinuka Liyanawatte, wrote on Facebook.

“He then proceeds to tell me that our appointment is cancelled”, Dissanayake writes, “I tell him that is unacceptable and I want to see the provincial director. We are then pushed to the aesthetic director, whose main focus is that gender parity are ‘adult themes’ and whether they are suitable for young children because - and I quote - ‘ people are coming and putting ideas like homosexuality in these children’s heads when our main focus should be to teach them to lead successful family lives no?’”

She writes that she was determined to meet the provincial director, but was warned by the aesthetic director that the provincial director would be “angered by my inappropriate attire”. Dissanayake writes that she obstinately stood at the entrance to the provincial director’s office, and was finally – after half an hour of standing in her heavily pregnant state – granted entry – “only to be met with the provincial director who barks at us - doesn’t take a look at any material provided to him - and orders us to another desk.”

Dissanayake writes that she finally left in frustration, not wanting to be “humiliated and harassed by government officials who technically should be welcoming such initiatives with open arms.”

Dissanayake’s most recent project is the ‘Little Girl Giant Puppet’, a 14ft puppet of a village girl, created in collaboration with the Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation to draw attention in a to the myriad issues surrounding women and girl children that need urgent attention.

© 2017 Asian Mirror (pvt) Ltd