The Lanka Mahila Samithi (LMS) had been founded by Dr Mary Rutnam in 1930, as a women’s movement geared towards the upliftment of rural conditions and improvement of the socio-economic conditions of villagers in remote areas. Shortly after marriage, Sirimavo Bandaranaike joined several women’s organisations and enrolled as a member of the Lanka Mahila Samithi in 1941. The LMS had grown in the decade of its existence into a body which reached out to all aspects of rural development, taking on board health and sanitation issues, entrepreneurship and cottage industries as well as education. Mrs Bandaranaike’s work took her to far flung villages, especially in the Western, North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. This experience of meeting people from all strands of society, listening to their daily struggles and continuous effort to survive, whilst promoting the ideals of the LMS geared towards poverty alleviation and rural development, instilled in her an understanding which was to stand her in good stead in the decades ahead. Mrs Bandaranaike spent nearly twenty years as a member of the LMS, moving up from being it’sTreasurer for eight years, Vice President for two and finally President, the post from which she resigned upon her election as Prime Minister in 1960.