956 Gender Roles in Sri Lanka

Buddhi talks about gender roles for women in her country of Sri Lanka.


Todd: So, Buddihini, today we're going to talk about roles and family: traditional roles or what people do. Now in Sri Lanka, is it common for usually the women to do all the cooking?

Buddhi: It was so. It was so, but still the mentality is such that they expect the daughters and the wives to do the kitchen stuff and the cleaning, the laundry and all that, but we do have a lot of working mothers now and they are many single parents as well so the culture has been changing a little bit, but still the majority is that women should do the usual household stuff and the men do the work outside and get the money. If it's like the cityside, and if the wife is also working, obviously it's not expected that the wife ends up doing everything.

Todd: So, what happens? Do you split the duties or do you hire a servant?

Buddhi: Yes, hiring some helper is quite common in Sri Lanka. I personally don't agree with that.

Todd: Oh, really, you don't want to have like a cook or a maid or anything like that?

Buddhi: It'll be nice to have but I wouldn't want to have. I want to do my things on my own. I think it's easier to do things on your own, and I'd make sure when I get married that I have the correct partner who'd want to help me out with things and having kids and all that. I wouldn't want somebody else to come and help us out.

Todd: So, when you get married, you'd like to split the duties with your husband?

Buddhi: Of course.

Todd: So, you expect your husband to cook and clean?

Buddhi: At least help me out and make sure that he knows what I'm doing. He values what I do cause I'm definitely not the kind who'll stay at home and do only the household stuff. I'll definitely go out and get the money as well.

Todd: So, you want to be the bread winner?

Buddhi: I wouldn't say that. We will share. I mean, why he suffer alone, and why I suffer alone at home. We suffer together.

Todd: Now is this a common viewpoint with most young women from your country?

Buddhi: Yeah, I'd say so. I'd say so, but there are many people who don't like to go out and be a working mom. They'd rather prefer staying at home and you know, waiting for their husband to come home in the evening or stuff like that, but I'm definitely not that kind.


Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

it was so


In the past it was so.

'It was so' talks about how things were in the past. Notice the samples.

  1. In the US, women are equal to men, but in the past it wasn't so.
  2. Almost no one buys CD's anymore, but in the past it was so.

the mentality


The mentality is such that they expect the women to do all the cooking.

'The mentality' means 'the thinking'. Here are two samples.

  1. In my country, the mentality is such that kids should become independent at a young age.
  2. Unfortunately for some, the mentality is such that just coming to class is enough to learn.

split the duties


Do you split the duties?

When we 'split the duties' we share the work with others. Notice the samples.

  1. I split the household duties with my sister.
  2. Let's split the duties. I'll cook and you clean, OK?

hire a servant


Did you hire a servant?

A servant is similar to a maid. When we hire someone we give them a job. Here are some samples.

  1. Our family was too poor to hire a servant.
  2. I'm so lazy. I wish I could hire a servant to cook and clean.



My husband values what I do.

Here 'values' means 'appreciate'. Notice the sample sentences.

  1. I work so much I'm rarely home, but my kids value what I do.
  2. My wife works hard taking care of the house and kids. I really value what she does.

the bread winner


So, you want to be the bread winner?

'The bread winner' is the person who makes money to support the family. Notice the following.

  1. Being the bread winner carries a lot of responsibility.
  2. Who's the bread winner in your family?
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
it was so • mentality • split the duties
 hired servants • value • bread winner
  1. She doesn't go out a lot now, but in the past .
  2. As soon as he had enough money he to clean his house.
  3. Who is the in your family?
  4. I enjoy being with people, but I really my time alone.
  5. Do you with your housemates?
  6. It is his that women should stay home with the children.