“I suppose what a woman was wearing the moment she became Prime Minister of her country is also news," Mrs.Sirimavo Bandaranaike had quipped rather wearily the day after she led the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to victory in July, 1960 securing for herself a place in history as the world’s first woman prime minister.
Mrs. Bandaranaike's comment,her biographer Maureen Seneviratne says was the realisation she had that day that “henceforth everything she said or did would be news.”
On 21 July,1960, less than a year after the assassination of her husband S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike, Sirimavo had led the SLFP to victory and formed the government in which she was named Prime Minister.
Her biographer quotes from an article in a local newspaper published on 21 July 1960, the day the new government was sworn in.“At 6 a.m. today, (July 21st) having sat up all night, she (Sirimavo) was as fresh as ever; ……….she was dressed in white with a cameo brooch which had a picture of Mr.Bandaranaike together with the party symbol -the hand- pinned on her shoulder.”
The international media too were equally enthusiastic about her appointmen.
“Gentle widow heads for job as Premier” (London News Chronicle) .
”There will be need of a new word. Presumably, we shall have to call her a “Stateswoman” (Evening News, London) .
Mrs. Bandaranaike went onto serve as the country’s Prime Minister thrice, from 1970-77 and 1994-2002.
She passed away on 10 October, 2000.