Myanmar Speaker Series: Bottom-up decision making? The Importance of Women as Local Leaders

November 3, 2020.

In Myanmar, despite limited moves towards decentralisation over the last decade, formal legal, policy-making and budgetary powers remain highly centralised at the union level. However, in practice, decision making at ward/village tract and village level has a large impact on citizens’ lives. Ward/village tract administrators and “100 household heads ” – the main elected community leaders – act as key interlocutors between ordinary people and higher levels of the state. So, although the vast majority of the government’s budget is centrally controlled, much of the de facto revenue collection and public service delivery is decided at local levels. Local decision-making remains highly gendered due to a persistent gender division of roles and responsibilities. In Myanmar, improving gender equality of participation in local governance bodies could result in more equitable decisions for the population.

Burmese Language Audio Version

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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: Will More Women Join Politics in the 2020 Myanmar Elections?

In 2020, the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap continues to find the largest gender disparity is—once again—the Political Empowerment gap. While countries across the board are making efforts to reduce the gap, Myanmar is behind all countries in ASEAN. Despite having successful and highly visible women across all sectors of the economy from the garment industry to education. Few Myanmar women are present in politics.

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Myanmar Speaker Series: Women and Conflict in Myanmar Can elections bring a relief?

Myanmar is home to several minority ethnic groups seeking political, economic, cultural, and social recognition. In these pursuits, conflict has erupted and sustained for decades–as one of the world’s longest–manifesting in a variety of forms. Within these conflicts, the gendered impacts are multi-faceted and disproportionately tolling upon women and girls. As Myanmar heads to the polls again this year, violence could again re-emerge, keeping in mind that “Gender inequities exacerbate experiences of conflict, and responses that do not incorporate gender analysis exacerbate inequities”.

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