I had no idea that this law existed

A Sri Lankan friend of mine alerted me to the fact that since 1955, there has been a law on the books in that country that women were not allowed to purchase alcohol. I had no idea that such a law existed, probably because it was never enforced. That law has just been repealed.

Sri Lanka is to allow women over the age of 18 to buy alcohol legally for the first time in more than 60 years.

The government said that it was amending a 1955 law that it agreed was discriminatory against women.

The amendment to the law, announced on Wednesday, also means that women will be permitted without prior approval to work in places that sell alcohol.

Critics of the repeal warn that it might lead to more alcoholism among women. Apart from the fact that gender-based legislation is inherently problematic, this concern seems unwarranted. Although alcoholism is a problem in Sri Lanka, no one seemed to be aware of this unenforced law at all before its repeal so practically it is not going to have any effect.


  1. jrkrideau says

    Check blasphamy laws. I believe a number of countries including Canada and New Zealand have them on the books. There are some weird laws on the books.

    Back in the 1970’s Québec, apparently, had a law that “inns” must supply stabling and fodder for the guests’ horses. A brave band of riders registered at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Monteal, a “minor” little hotel with only 1,039 rooms and 100 suites. I do not know how the horses faired (err, fared?)

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