Myanmar Speaker Series: Working Pathways to Women’s Political Participation

October 29, 2020

The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Report assesses women’s empowerment across four dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity; Education Attainment; Health and Survival; and Political Empowerment. The latter one tends to be a very critical dimension to determine the size and direction of the gap. Political empowerment measures participation of women in parliament and the number of women ministers in the country. Within the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Philippines performs the best and Myanmar the worst, putting the country 114th in the global ranking of out of 153 countries.

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Myanmar Speaker Series – Towards Gender Equality: Implications for Myanmar’s 2020 Elections

October 27, 2020.

It is now 25 years since the UN World Conference on Women was held in Beijing (1995). This meeting of global leaders spurred an unprecedented push for gender equality in a number of areas. Specifically, the conference highlighted women’s persistent political underrepresentation as a democratic problem as well as a hurdle for economic and human development. Since this conference, many countries have made concerted efforts to increase the number of women in politics. For example, the percentage of the world’s parliamentarians that are women has more than doubled since 1995 from 11% to 25% in 2020. Participating in public life is an aspect of peoples’ agency, and therefore the ability (or inability) to participate in politics and governance can directly affect their well-being.

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Myanmar Speaker Series: What is the road to improving health services in ethnic states?

October 21, 2020.

Myanmar is undergoing a transition from military to civilian rule since 2011 and government expenditure on health has increased from 1% in 2010 to 3.4% in 2015, still one of the lowest in the Asia-Pacific region. Though health sector decentralization is said to be put in place, the progress so far has not been assessed. There is limited information on how resources are managed and how well is decentralization progressing. The current system favors top-down decision-making, creating vast gaps of expectations between decision-makers and communities in states/regions, townships and villages/wards. In ethnic states, the delivery of health service remains unequal and insufficient due to poor governance, limited budgets, outdated facilities, and lack of supplies and health staff. Moreover, in such resource-poor setting, the gap between community expectations and what service providers can actually offer remains enormous, and needs to be closed.

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Myanmar Speaker Series: How to equip sub national parliaments for evidence based policy making ?

October 7, 2020.

Decentralization as mandated by the 2008 Constitution re-introduced state/region governments and legislatures across Myanmar. This represents a central issue for the country’s long term development. The 14 sub-national legislatures have the responsibility to debate and pass local legislation and also have the formal role to debate and approve local budgets and oversee their spending. The potential of the ongoing peace process leading to the negotiation of a federal model of governance means that the roles of sub-national institutions, including parliaments, would continue to increase substantially. Against this background, the bulk of international support remains focused at the union level in the new capital of Nay Pyi Taw. Less attention is paid to sub-national parliaments across the 14 states and regions in the country. The parliamentary elections scheduled for November 8, 2020 have the potential of making sub-national parliaments even more ethnically diverse and of increasing the number of women parliamentarians.

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Myanmar Speaker Series: Can Decentralization Improve Education in Myanmar ?

October 1, 2020

Following the start of the country’s various reforms in 2011, public funding for education has significantly increased, leading to an important rise in access. The primary net enrollment rate increased from 88% in 2009-10 to 93 percent in 2014-15. Net enrollment in pre-primary education saw an impressive growth between 2008 – when roughly 1 in 20 children were enrolled – and 2014 when nearly 1 in 4 children were enrolled. The National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) 2016-21 represents an important milestone for education in Myanmar, as the country’s very first education sector plan in the context of a major transition towards democracy.

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