Sri Lanka lifts ban on women buying, selling alcohol

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka has revoked a 38-year ban on selling alcohol to women and employing them in places where the brews are produced and sold.

The finance ministry says Minister Mangala Samaraweera signed the notification revoking the ban to restore gender equality and promote tourism.

The ban had been in force since 1979, the early years of Sri Lanka embracing an open market economy. But many businesses had employed women to sell and serve alcohol and sold alcohol to them in spite of the ban.

The government also allowed liquor outlets to stay open an hour later, until 10 p.m.