Sri Lanka Ministers

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka/ Sri Lanka Prajatntrika Samajawadi Janarajaya (Formerly known as Ceylon)
(Female suffrage 1931) British Crown Colony 1892, self-government 1948, independence 1957 and a republic 1972

Also see Sri Lanka Heads

1957-72 Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Ceylon and of Her Other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth (29.05-22.05)
Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland since 1952.

1956-59 Minister of Health Vimala Wijewardene
1959 Minister of Local Government and Housing
Widow of
D.C. Wjewardhna, the author of ”Revolt in the Temple”, which inspired Singhalese-Buddhish ”communal fervor”, she was leader of the national branch within the  Sri Lanka Freedom Party and was fired from the cabinet when she was arrested on charge of complicity in the murder of Solomon Bandaranaike but later cleard of the charges. (1909-before 2003)

1960-65 Prime Minister Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike (21.7.-25.3.)
1960-65 Minister of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Employment (Rt.Hon)
1970-77 Prime Minister, (28.5.70-23.7.77)
1970-77 Minister of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Planning, Economy and Plan- implementation
1988 Presidential Candidate
1994 Minister without Portfolio (Second in Cabinet)
1994-2000 Prime Minister (And Deputy Head of State) (14.11.-10.8)
Chairperson 1960-93 and 1993-2000 President of Sri Lanka Freedom Party, 1965-70 and 1988-94 Leader of The Opposition, 1976 Chairperson of the Association of Non Aligned Nations. She is the widow of Solomon B., Premier of Ceylon 1956-59 until he was assassinated. Her father Mr. Ratwatte was a Senator. As Prime Minister she is Deputy Head of State.  She lived (1916-2000)

1965-70 Deputy Minister of Health Irene Wimala Kannangara
1977-78 Minister of Shipping, Aviation and Tourism
1978-86 Minister of Rural Development (Third in cabinet)
MP 1965-70 1977-86 and lived (1921-2006).

1965 Parliamentary Secretary of Home Affairs Kusuma Rajaratne
MP 1956-68, she lived (1926-2007).

1970-76 Deputy Minister of Health Siva Obeysekere
1976-77 Minister of Health
Her husband, J.P. Obeysekere was Deputy Minister of Health 1960-65.

1970-77 Deputy Minister Violet Vivienne Goonewardena
Communist MP 1956-60, 1964-65 and 1970-77 and municipal councillor of Colombo. She lived (

1982-89 Minister of the Nuwara Eliya District Dunutilaka Mudiyanselage Renuka Menike Herath
1989 Minister of State of Education
1989-94 Minister of Health and Women's Affairs
Renuka Herath was in charge of the only Tamil majority district outside the North and Eastern part of the country. She married in 1980 and
had one daughter. (b. 1945-)

3-85 Minister of Health Sunethra Ranasinghe
1985-89 Minister of Women's Affairs and Teaching
1989-93 Minister of State of Education
1994-97 Deputy Minister of Education
She entered politics after the death of her father, S. de S. Jayasinghe, the Minister of Fisheries. Became Mayor of
Dehiwala-Mt. Lavinia in 1997.

1987-88 Deputy Minister of Transport P.M. Amara Piyaseeli Ratnayake
1988-91 State Minister of Home Affairs
1991-94 Minister in charge of Public Administration
2001-04 Minister in charge of Women's Affairs
Entered the political arena after her husband, W.M. Wimalaratne Bandara, was killed by political opponents in 1975 and was an MP 1977-2004.
From 2001 she was the only female member of government of 25 Cabinet Ministers, 28 Ministers outside the Cabinet and 9 Deputy Ministers. Appointed Governor of the North Western Province in 2015. (b. 1938-).

1987-90 District Minister for Batticaloa in the East Ranganayaki Pathmanathan
She was sister of Keerthi Abeywickrama who died in the grenade attack in Parliament in 1987

1989-90 Minister of State of Social Service Samantha Karunaratne
0-94 Minister of State of Reconstruction and Social Welfare

1990-93 Minister of State of Women's Affairs Chandra Karunaratne

1990-93 Minister of State of Education R.M. Pulendran

1993-94 Secretary of State of Reconstruction and Social Welfare Christine Silva

1994 Prime Minister Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (19.8-14.11)
1994-2001 Minister of  Defence, Finance and Planning
1994-97 Minister of
Buddhist Affairs, Ethnic Relations and National Integration
1994-2005 Executive President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (12.11-19.11)
2001 Minister of Media Affairs, Poverty Relief, Aviation and Tourism
2003-05 Minister of Defence
2003-04 Minister of Interior and
Information and Media
2004-05 Minister of
Constitutional Affairs and Education
Minister of Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation, Transport and Petroleum Resources Development
Vice-President 1984-86 and President of Sri Lanka Maha Jana Party 1984-86, Leader of United Socialist Alliance 1988 and Leader of People’s Alliance and Deputy Leader of Sri Lanka Freedom Party 1993-2005, Chief Minister of the Western Province 1993-94. Her husband Vijaya K. was assacinated 1988, mother of 2 children, Daughter of the Prime Ministers Solomon and Sirivamo Bandaranaike. (b. 1945-).

1994-97 Minister of Transport, Highways, Environment and Women's Affairs Srimani Athulathmudali
Co-founder and Leader of Democratic United National Front (DUNLEF) 1994-2000, after her husband,
Lalith Athulathmudali, was assasinated. She lived (circa 1946-2004).

1994-2001 Deputy Minister of Internal and External Trade
and Food Sumithra Priyangani Abeyweera

1994-97 Deputy Minister of Livestock Development and Rural Industries Hema Ratnayake
1997-2000 Minister of Women’s Affairs

1994-99 Deputy Minister of Buddhist Affairs Sumedha Gunawathi Jayasena
1999 Minister of Social Services
2000 Minister of Women’s Affairs
2004-05 Minister of
Social Welfare
2004-10 Minister of Women's Empowerment
2005-10 Minister of Child's Affairs
2010-15 Minister of Parliamentary Affairs
2015- Deputy Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife
Normally known as
Sumedha G. Jayasena, she entered politics after her husband was assassinated. (b. 1952-).

Deputy Minister of Tourism and Aviation
Nirupama Deepika Rajapaksa
1999-2000 Minister of Plan Implementation
01 Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs
The Secretary of the Ministry
of Women was Kamal Wiekramasinghe. She is the niece of
Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has been President of Sri Lanka from 2005. (b. 1962-).

1994-98 Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services Pavithra Devi Wanniarachchi
1998-2000 Deputy Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine
2000-01 Minister of Land and Plan Implementation
2001 Deputy Minister of Highways and Sport
2004-07 Minister of Samurdhi and Poverty Alleviation
2007-10 Minister of Youth Affairs
2010 Minister for National Heritage and Cultural Affairs
2010-13 Minister of Technology and Research
2013-15 Minister of Power and Energy 2013 to date
In the government in office in 2004-05 only three of 39 Cabinet Ministers were women and none of the three non-cabinet and 39 Deputy Ministers were female. Daughter of long-time politician Dharmadasa Wanniarachchi. (b. 1964-).

2000-01 Minister of Development and Reconstruction of the East and Rural Housing Ferial Ismail Ashraff
2001 Minister of Women’s Affairs
2004-05 Minister of
Eastern Province Education and Irrigation Development
2004-10 Minister of Housing
2004-07 Minister of Construction Industry
2007-10 Minister of Common Amenities
Also known as Farial Ashraff, she became Acting Joint Leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress after her husband, MHM Ashraff, a government minister, had been killed in a helicopter crash in 2000. Co-Leader of the National Unity Alliance
2001-10. Ambassador to Singapore from 2011. (b. 1953-).

2010-15 Deputy Minister of Water Supply and Drainage Nirupama Deepika Rajapaksa
A relative of Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was President 2005-15. (b. 1962-)

2015- Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Thalatha Athukorala

2015- Minister of Women’s Affairs Chandrani Bandara Jayasinghe

2015 State Minister of Children’s Affairs Rosy Senanayake
2015- Spokesperson of the Prime Minister
Ambassador to Malaysia 2002-04 and later Leader of the opposition of the Western Province Provincial Council 2009-10 before becoming a national MP. (b. 1958-).

2015 Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran
2015- State Minister of Children’s Affairs

2015 Deputy Minister of Irrigation Anoma Gamage
2015- Deputy Minister of Oil and Gas

2015- State Minister of City Planning and Water Supply Sudarshani Fernandopulle

Last update 12.09.15