Category Archives: Women with Disabilities


The 3rd. Asia Pacific Feminist Forum was organized by Asia Pacific Women Law & Development (APWLD) at Empress Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand in September 2017. Ms. Manique Gunaratne from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre who is also a Committee Member of the Asia Pacific Women with Disabilities United (APWWDU) together Ms. Sonali De Silva from The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon attended the APFF. Everyone was able to join other women, development and human rights organizations and advocates from different parts of the region in strengthening movements for development justice. This participatory event brought more than 300 activists, Women Human Rights Defenders, Women with disabilities, academics, lawyers and global allies, facilitating the sharing of tools and resources, providing space for advocacy, strengthening capacities and inviting us to collectively strategies to build more power.

The Asia Pacific Women with Disabilities United (APWWDU) organized a side event to:

  • Reflect on achievements and challenges of women with disabilities in claiming rights and development justice.
  • Articulate what feminist development justice is from the perspective of women with disabilities (articulate grounding and principles)?
  • Appreciate key international human rights standards and processes and how this can continue to be relevant to the needs and realities of women /persons with disabilities.
  • Strengthen knowledge and capacities of women with disabilities in advocating for feminist development justice at the national, regional and global levels.

Women with disabilities are mindful of the need for a stronger articulation on gender and feminism in the disability movements and awareness and sensitivity on disability within women’s movements. This reflection comes from a careful appreciation of what they have achieved in terms of carving out spaces for their meaningful participation in setting standards of human rights from the perspective of feminism and disability and an awareness of the challenges they continue to face. Guided by what they bring into the feminist and disability movements was also the same grounding they had in carving out space for their participation in setting, implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. As they engaged in these spaces they are reflective of:

  • Current analysis of the situation and realities of WWDs in the region,
  • Existing policies and mechanisms that support the rights of and development goals women with disabilities at the national level;
  • Basic grounding development justice (given commitments in 2015), CEDAW, CRPD and the SDGs as standards and principles that guide their engagement
  • Need for reflection on what WWDs have gained in engaging in the SDG process and how to strengthening movements to push for this.

The APFF has been witness to the on-going reflection of women with disabilities as they commit and engage in crafting, implementing and monitoring the SDGs given their analysis of gender and disability based discrimination; and what it means to be grounded in feminist development justice.

In this year’s APFF WWDs got the opportunity to engage each other and the wider movement at the APFF of what it means for WWDs to be part of the growing movement on feminist development justice.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Conference day 1.

2 Day 1 group of APWWDU members.

3 Day 1 Manique and Sonali.

4 Day Manique and Sonali.

5 Day 1 Manique near the stage.

6 Day 1 with women with disabilities.

7 Day 2 APWWDU members.

8 Day 2 Manique speaking.

9 Day 2 Manique near the banner.

10 Day 2 Manique.

11 Day 2 participants.

12 Day 3 all participants.

13 Day 3 APWWDU group.

14 Day 3 group photo 2.

15 Day 3 group photo.

16 Day 3 Manique near stage.


17 Opening dinner.


Manique Gunaratne

Executive Committee Member – Disability Organisations’ Joint Front


In March 2012 Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon,   did a presentation on “How to include women with disabilities to the mainstream of development” at a workshop organized by the Disability Organizations’ Joint front and Ministry of Women Affairs at the Sri Lanka Television and training Institute. The Chief guest was the Minster of Women Affairs.


Manique Gunaratne

Vice Chair Person – South Asian Disability Forum


In April 2012 Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon went to Istanbul, Turkey to attend the Association for Women’s Rights in Development’s (“AWID”) International Forum meeting (the “AWID Forum. This meeting was hosted on behalf of AWID by Dekon Congress & Tourism at the Halic Congress Center.

AWID is an international membership organization with thousands of individual and institutional members in over 100 countries working towards gender equality worldwide. The AWID Forum is a triennial conference that draws women’s rights activists and development practitioners from over 120 countries. The conference is one the largest periodic events on women’s rights in the world outside the UN, and hosts over 2,000 participants.

Dekon Congress & Tourism provided services in destination management and did the logistical coordination of the AWID Forum. At the Forum, Ms. Manique Gunaratne was invited to speak at a panel organised by CREA, India.

CREA is a women’s rights organisation based in New Delhi, India. Ms. Manique Gunaratne did a presentation on “Disability sexuality and rights of women with disabilities”. There were 2500 participants from 140 countries.


Manique Gunaratne

National Campaigner for Rights of Women with Disabilities – Raising Our Voices for Us


Internews organised “Women, tech and change” the 3rd social media meet-up at Hotel Janaki in August 2017.

‘SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS MEET-UOur panel represented diverse experiences of women using technology to educate and empower our society in times of reform and change, as well as unlocking opportunities for women through technology’.

Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre spoke on “work as a person with a disability, using ICT to empower/educate those with and without disabilities, as well as advocating for the use of IT among people with disabilities and training them in Information & Communication Technology, focusing on work especially with women with disabilities, in training them in IT, opportunities and challenges.

Other speakers spoke on:

Savindri – spoke on experiences as an entrepreneur, using tech as a platform for new business, and also the challenges within the spheres of tech and within the sphere of the ‘corporate’ as a woman, with both other women and men – the lack of critical discourse on gender among business community.
Tehani – spoke about SAWF’s work with grassroots women’s orgs and activists in the region and use examples of how women are using tech to educate / mobilize at the grassroots level across South Asia.
Paba – spoke on online violence against women, weak policy/no policy to address this, online safety / security as a unique issue for women and girls; how these become deterrents to women’s use of tech / social Medias’ overall touching on women’s digital rights.
Iromi – spoke on experience using tech as a researcher and activist – to gather and analyse data as well as disseminate information in the interest of public service, via social media etc. by using examples of work on constitutional reform and urban development.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique at the head table.

2 Manique presenting.

3 Pannalists

Manique Gunaratne

Sub Committee Member of Policy Development Unit of Prime Minister’s Office on Vocational, Technical Training and Employment Forcusing on Persons with Disabilities



Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability and Ms. Sagarika Wickramasekara, President of Internet Society spoke on “Women Internet Governance Forum” in the radio programme titled “Anduren Eliyata” at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in June 2017.


Picture description for vision impaired persons:

Manique Gunaratne, Sagarika Wickramasekara and Sujeewa Manage recording the programme.




Manique Gunaratne

E-mail –



The Disability Organisations Joint Front organized a workshop for women with disabilities in all corners of Sri Lanka on “Women’s Rights” at Help Age Sri Lanka in May 2017. Girls and women with diverse disabilities participated at this workshop. Men with disabilities were also included for this training because it is equally important men also to be aware of women’s rights. The significance of this workshop was that majority of the resource persons were women with disabilities. Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability conducted the session on rights of vision impaired women. Other speakers were, Ms. Rasanjali Pathirage, Ms. Niluka Gunawardane, Ms. Vajira and Ms. Menaka.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Sign language interpretation.

2 Manique speaking.

3 Manique conducting the training.

4 Participants.

5 Menaka conducting the session.

6 Rasanjali conducting the session.


Manique Gunaratne

Fax – 0094112867946



Women internet governance forum includes women with disabilities

Internet Society of Sri Lanka (ISoC Sri Lanka) Chapter conducted the first ever Women Internet Governance Forum (Women IGF) in Sri Lanka as a local event at the BMICH in May 2017.

Today, the representation of women in IT sector has been increased almost equal to the men. Even-though there are both pros and cons being a woman techie. It’s the time to talk about this topic and especially problems, difficulties and obstacles when women are reaching up to higher levels in IT industry.

Women Internet Governance Forum (Women IGF) is the platform where to raise the voice of the women of their concerns, look for answers and get the attention of the community in this regard. This initiative will move with the “Global women in IT” and “Sri Lanka National Internet Governance Forum 2017”. This was a group discussion up to 30 participants from different key areas of the society.

Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, ICT Training & Disability Resource Centre did a presentation on “women with disabilities leading in the ICT field”.

The Women IGF 2017 session conducted dialogues on four topics below. The topics involved various distinguish women representatives from different areas.

Why should internet governance include consideration of gender issues?

The Internet is a feminist issue (feminists’ roles in shaping Internet policy).

Role of women in internet Governance.

Women’s voices in the public sphere.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Manique receiving a token of appreciation.

2 Group photograph.

3 Manique at the head table.

4 Manique

5 Manique making presentation.

6 Manique addressing the gathering.


Manique Gunaratne

CISCO International Trainer for I T E (Information Technology Essentials)





MAS Slimtex Kuliyapitiya organized a series of programmes to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 with its team members. Ms. Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability did a motivational speech to the team members on this day.

Picture description for vision impaired persons:

1 Celebrating International Women’s day with the team.

group photo 1

2 Team members appreciating being a great woman.

group photo 2

3 Manique speaking to team members.

manique speaking to team members

4 Management appreciating the great work.

mas management team

5 Waring the great women wrist band.

waring great women wrist band

Manique Gunaratne

Face time: 0094779571918


In December 2012 Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability and Executive Committee Member of the Asian Blind Union attended the Asian Blind Union executive committee meeting and a workshop on Project Monitorization and evaluation for women with visually impairement in New Delhi, India. It was held at Hotel Meridian Plaza.


Picture description for vision impaired persons:

At the conference.



Manique Gunaratne

Founder Members Team – South Asian Women with Disabilities Network