Women’s Rights


This year it is Mandalay that has broken the bounds of all reason or responsibility by threatening to imprison women who appear in outfits deemed too skimpy during water festival.
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Aung San Suu Kyi will have her hands full over the next few months as she seeks to lead two of Myanmar’s most important ministries. Unfortunately a woman at the head of two ministries does not two women ministers make. With Aung San Suu Kyi’s appointment as the only female minister, the number of women ministers has effectively been cut in half; there used to be two.
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Last week I wrote about the lamentable lack of women in Myanmar’s new cabinet. It provoked a mixed reaction.
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“One of my friends is five weeks pregnant. She is uneducated and poor. Her boyfriend ran away when she told him that she was pregnant. She’s crying and helpless. She’s thinking about abortion with an unlicensed nurse. It’s too dangerous for her… It’s been five weeks.”
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With an increase in gender equality movements in recent years in Burma, advocacy groups are beginning to prioritize engaging men in an effort to end sexual harassment and violence against women.
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Burmese authorities are warning women not to wear “skimpy clothing” if they plan to take part in this year’s Thingyan water festival to celebrate the traditional Buddhist New Year.
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Lei Lei Maw, a sitting lawmaker in the regional legislature for Tenasserim Division, was appointed chief minister of the division on Monday, becoming one of Burma’s first females to hold the position.
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In presenting her annual report on human rights in Myanmar this week, the UN’s special rapporteur Yanghee Lee called on the incoming NLD government to undertake a list of key actions in its first 100 days.
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A pledge for more women in leadership roles and in the ongoing peace process has been demanded by the Karen Women’s Organisation.
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Burma’s female entrepreneurs encouraged women to push cultural boundaries and pursue leadership roles, sharing their personal struggles as motivation on International Women’s Day on Tuesday.
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Myanmar MP Wint Wah Tun cradles the baby she named “Parliament” and explains why she shrugged off conservative attitudes to enter parliament as part of a flood of new women lawmakers for Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party.
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The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) has said they are ready to address cases of sexual violence perpetrated by the Burma Army, but rights groups remain skeptical of the commission’s ability to achieve justice.
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On International Women’s Day, 110 high profile women, including Dame Judi Dench, Annie Lennox, Jo Brand, Gillian Anderson, Imelda Staunton, Julie Walters and Zoë Wanamaker, are standing with the women of Myanmar to end rape and sexual violence according to a statement from the Burma Campaign UK.
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Today is International Woman’s Day, when people around the world mark the achievements and challenges of half of humanity.
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Myanmar has been undergoing a rapid and exciting transformation – politically, economically and socially. As the country continues to open up to the world, there is much hope for poverty reduction, peace and sustainable development. At this juncture, it is more important than ever to recognise and support the crucial role of women in economic growth, particularly in the agricultural sector. International Women’s Day on 8 March provides us an opportunity to reflect on opportunities in this regard.
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“Women’s rights are human rights” is the prominent slogan that evolved out of the fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995.
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As a boy growing up in post-war South Korea, I remember asking about a tradition I observed: Women going into labour would leave their shoes at the threshold and then look back in fear. “They are wondering if they will ever step into those shoes again,” my mother explained.
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A permanent scar on her forehead, a broken tooth, a miscarriage – all caused by spousal battery. Daw Tin Tin Hla (not her real name) decides to speak to her spiritual adviser about a longstanding situation of domestic violence. “Though very patient and kind, my adviser urged me to make my marriage work and not to break the family. But my family was broken long ago. My children and I live in fear of violence,” she said.
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Religious leaders from four of Burma’s major faiths have called for a change in community attitudes in order to end discrimination and violence against women and girls.
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A report out this week on mobile phone ownership in Myanmar highlighted how the country’s rapid modernisation can magnify gender inequalities as well as help address them.
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