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.

The talk examines women’s engagement and participation in political activities and leadership at different levels of analysis (macro, meso, micro) and from different perspectives. Qualitatively, the talk will discuss preliminary findings from in-depth interviews with women leaders at the national level, and discuss patterns of enabling factors and barriers women experience in their political engagement and pathways to power. Quantitatively, the talk will use data from a 2020 Spring and Summer survey of 2,000 households in Chin State, Kayin State, Mon State, Magway Region and Yangon Region, reaching a total sample of 3,017 individuals. The survey asked questions on topics on household decision making, on gender roles within community groups, on political socialization, on political trust and on attitudes towards elections, among others.

These results are based on a research project entitled “Barriers and Pathways to Women’s Political Participation in Myanmar”, led by the Gender Equality Network (GEN, Myanmar) in partnership with the Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand) and McGill University (Canada).


Soe Myat Tun, Research Manager, Gender Equality Network (GEN), Yangon, Myanmar. He got M.B., B.S degree from University of Medicine (Magway), Myanmar, and Master of Public Health (Global Health) from Thammasat University, Thailand. He has been leading the project management of this “Barriers and Pathways to Women’s Political Participation in Myanmar” along with other research projects like “Election Coverage by Selected Media’s Facebook Pages from Gender Perspective”, “Voices hard to be heard” and “ARRIVED”.


May Sabe Phyu is the Director of the Gender Equality Network (GEN), a coalition of more than 100 organizations collaborating to advocate for women’s rights to end discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities in Myanmar.