Sirimavo Bandaranaike


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Sirimavo Bandaranaike (née Sirima Ratwatte) born Ratnapura, Ceylon April 17, 1916 (d. 2000). Sri Lankan stateswoman; world’s first female head of state 1960; 3 times prime minister 1960-5, 1970-7, 1994-2000; Socialist; Buddhist; founder of Non-Aligned Movement in Cold War 1961ff. Successfully mediated India-China dispute 1962; peacefully settled India boundary 1964; proposed Indian Ocean as Zone of Peace 1970.


I am happy to attend this great assembly not only as a representative of my country but also as a woman and a mother who can understand the thoughts and feelings of the millions of women, the mothers of this world, who are deeply concerned with the preservation of the human race. . . our endeavour should be to influence world opinion to such an extent that governments, however powerful, cannot regard warfare as an alternative to negotiation.” (Belgrade, Sept. 1961)

I share the conviction implicit in the theme ‘Equality, Development and Peace’ that a civilised world order can be built only through the joint endeavor of men and women.” (Kay Camp, “Listen to the Women”, 1975, p. 8; photo