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

(more…)

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

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.

(more…)

Continue ReadingMyanmar Speaker Series: Working Pathways to Women’s Political Participation

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.

(more…)

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

Myanmar Speaker Series: How can policing improve in ethnic states under the new government of Myanmar?

September 16, 2020.

Myanmar’s challenges regularly make headlines. The efforts to reform the Myanmar Police Force remains a hopeful step forward in the transformation of the country’s security. The 2008 Constitution states that the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services is the chief of all the armed organizations, and, as a result, the Myanmar Police Force remains under the Home Affairs Ministry, led by a military-appointed minister. Along with the democratic reforms since 2011, the force has moved towards a more decentralized, more gender and ethnic sensitive institution, still struggling to focus on control vs service-orientation. Currently, the police in Myanmar are severely overstretched to meet their mandate. Laws, regulation, strategies and training are outdated; facilities and equipment are old and often in poor condition by Southeast Asian and global standards. More disturbingly, the police are not present in some parts of the country where crime and related public security issues are most challenging. The police are facing increasingly sophisticated ethnic armed groups as well as transnational organized crime involved in drugs and human trafficking. The recent MIPS 2020 Annual Review on Peace and Security has highlighted some of these severe security challenges.

(more…)

Continue ReadingMyanmar Speaker Series: How can policing improve in ethnic states under the new government of Myanmar?

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”.

(more…)

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