Maithree Wickramasinghe (PhD.) is a Professor in the Department of English and the founding Director of the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Kelaniya. She is also a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Higher Education Equity Research (School of Education and Social Work), University of Sussex, United Kingdom.
She started her teaching career at the University of Peradeniya and has been a visiting lecturer at a number of Sri Lankan universities including the M. A. Program in Women’s Studies at the University of Colombo.
Her academic teaching has centered on literary and critical theories / practices, critical analyses, women’s poetry and fiction, gender in literature, Sri Lankan literature and research methodology. Her research has an interdisciplinary span and includes work on Sri Lankan women’s poetry, feminist critical theory and research methodology, gender research evaluation, sexual harassment and sexual and gender based violence, gender relations in private sector organizations and higher education, gender equity laws, women in politics as well as women / gender in development.
Her publications include Towards Gender Equity / Equality: A Scan of Gender Sensitive Laws, Policies and Programs in Sri Lanka (2012), Feminist Research Methodology — Making Meanings of Meaning Making (2010), Beyond Glass Ceilings and Brick Walls — Gender at the Workplace (2006), co-authored with Wijaya Jayatilake, Gender Dimensions in Disaster Management (2003/2005) co-authored with Madhavi Malalgoda Ariyabandhu (translated into Urdhu, Hindi, Tamil and Sinhala). She is also the author of From Theory to Action – Women, Gender and Development (2000).
Maithree Wickramasinghe counts over twenty years of experience as an expert in gender and women’s studies. She has formulated gender mainstreaming polices, conducted gender trainings and evaluated women’s and gender programs for local and international organizations including Practical Action, CARE International, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) as well as the Centre for Women’s Research (CENWOR), the Women’s Education and Research Centre (WERC), and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC). Her work on gender mainstreaming include polices and strategies drafted for the Sri Lankan private sector, universities and disaster management. Her most recent work is a module for trainers titled An Introduction to Gender Mainstreaming Universities, formulated for the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
She has delivered keynotes and addressed plenaries at academic and professional fora in China, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, USA, and Zimbabwe. Her other work has involved evaluations of the discipline of English, gender projects / programs, women’s organizations and NGOs. She currently serves on the board of the Women’s Education and Research Centre (WERC) and is a committee member of the Ethics Research Committee and the Clinical Trials Sub-committee of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Colombo.
Maithree Wickramasinghe was educated at Musaeus College, Colombo. She graduated with a degree in English Honours from King’s College, University of London, and has a Masters in Women’s Studies from the University of Colombo. She was a recipient of a Gender Equity in Commonwealth Education PhD Studentship conferred by the Institute of Education, University of London and received her doctorate from the University of London, UK. She has also been a short-term research fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, University of Harvard, USA.
She is married to Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament in Sri Lanka and the Leader of the United National Party. Her leisure interests include alternative medicinal practices, yoga and meditation, designing (jewelry to fusion cuisine dinners), stargazing and traveling to sites of historical and cultural interest with her husband, Ranil.