Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women


Promote Research, Training, Lobbying, Advocacy and Monitoring Gender Related Issues


Eight women researchers, academics and activists from diverse fields, with a vision to empower women got together in 1984 to set up a NGO to fill the lacunae in research on women’s and gender issues that would lead to positive changes for women in Sri Lanka.

Meeting at one of the members’ homes, the Group of Eight started work with just Rs. 2,000/- as seed money contributed by the founder members. From small beginnings CENWOR has grown into one of the leading research organisations on gender and women’s issues. The strong policy oriented research focus of the Centre for Women’s Research has over the years led to the strengthening of international standards such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in national policy making. Its research programme was accompanied by advocacy and lobbying, awareness raising on gender issues as well as information dissemination on areas of critical concern to women, and the implementation of community based projects particularly by encouraging the development of non-traditional employment oriented skills.

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Having for nearly 13 years moved from place to place within Colombo, CENWOR was able to shift in 1977 to its own premises complete with a fully equipped Conference Hall and a Library at Bernard Soysa Mawatha (Kirula Road), Narahenpita due to generous contributions from NORAD,and HIVOS of Netherlands.