Aye Lei Tun, a McMaster University doctoral candidate and K4DM-University of British Columbia Myanmar Initiative Fellow will be presenting her research at the upcoming Australia National University’s Myanmar Update. The research will be on ‘Women’s agency in armed struggles in Myanmar’s Spring Revolution’. 

Aye Lei Tun

Women’s agency in armed struggles in Myanmar’s Spring Revolution

Paper abstract:

The politics of sex hierarchy in Myanmar has created a narrative that portrays males as protectors of state sovereignty, kinship, and family, while women are relegated to the role of reproduction and preservation of culture and tradition. In Myanmar’s particularly militarized context, dominant discourses that emphasize the necessity of men to defend physical security have resulted in women’s subordination in the security sector. This emphasis on men’s role in protecting the nation has prompted the formation of strong male-bonded alliances, often rooted in patrilineal connections, with these coalitions seeking security through dominance. Women have long played an integral role in this provision of security, as they bear the responsibility of biological reproduction within the group, thereby generating brothers and sons for the male alliances. Consequently, men exert control over women to maintain the solidarity of these fraternities. However, it is noteworthy that the 2021 revolution against Myanmar’s military dictatorship attempts to revolutionize gender norms and the role of women in armed struggles. The paper examines to what extent women are viewed as the agents in current armed struggles and whether societal attitudes toward female combatants have changed compared to the previous armed revolutions in Myanmar.