UN Women Myanmar
Myanmar recently emerged from 60 years of isolation, authoritarian rule and armed conflict between ethnic armed organizations and the military government, and has embarked on a historic process of peace, governance and economic reforms. In a population of 52 million, one half of women are out of the workforce. Concentration in vulnerable employment, sectoral and occupational segmentation, gender pay gaps, poor skill levels and the sole responsibility of care work are other concerns women face. Women occupy only 13 per cent of all seats (elected and appointed) in the Union Parliament. Conflict and recurring natural disasters have hit women hardest and violence against women and girls in every form is widespread.
UN Women, present in Myanmar since 2013, has consequently prioritised the following work areas:
Gender sensitive governance, peace and security:
- Built capacity of 440 women and 166 senior government officials from 14 ministries at Union and State levels, parliamentarians and ethnic groups on a women’s peace agenda;
- Supported mainstreaming of gender provisions into the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, and into the Framework for Political Dialogue through strategic advocacy with government and capacity building for government and women’s groups;
- Supported capacity building on women’s leadership and campaigns;
- Capacitated government and civil society to participate effectively in the CEDAW reporting process and is supporting the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women, in line with CEDAW and the SDGs;
- Co-led with World Bank, production of the Gender Chapter of the Post Floods and Landslides Needs Assessment, influencing recovery planning.
Ending violence against women girls and enhancing their access to justice:
- Provided technical assistance to government as part of the law drafting committee for the development of the draft Prevention of Violence against Women Law;
- Built the capacity of 90 senior uniformed personnel on the protection of women’s rights in peace times and in conflict;
- Piloting services to prevent and protect women and girls from violence; Changing attitudes and behaviors to prevent violence against women and girls through advocacy.
Women’s economic empowerment:
Working with government and private sector to
- Develop policies on decent work and entrepreneurship for women, including for women migrant workers;
- Supporting women’s livelihoods, job skills and business development, including for women migrant workers;
- Implementing a program on women’s energy access and sustainable energy entrepreneurship.
In its co-ordination of UN system work on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights, UN Women re-established the UN Gender Theme Group which it co-chairs with UNFPA. The UN has demonstrated its value-added on gender on 4 key counts that can be summarized as:
- Authoritative Analysis – The Gender Situation Analysis, technically led by UN Women was produced by government, UN and ADB, and is the first comprehensive analysis. It serves as a baseline for measuring progress and supporting implementation, e.g of the National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women, CEDAW/Universal Periodic Review recommendations;
- Thought Leadership – Gender sensitive legal advocacy and support to legislative development was provided. Women's rights has been used as a frame of reference for technical advice in drafting CEDAW compliant anti-violence law, advocating against Race and Religion Bills (unfortunately passed), and stopping punitive proposals on prostitution laws;
- Capacity building – Alignment with International Norms in several areas such as all aspects of the CEDAW review and implementation, women’s leadership, access to justice and law, micro finance.
News and Updates
Conflict affects women and men differently and puts their lives and properties at different risks. However, women are not just victims of conflict. Mon and Karen women engage within their communities in creative strategies to mitigate the impact of conflict and contribute in many ways to peace. Yet their contributions to peace are generally unrecognised and undocumented, and women are largely absent in political decision-making and the peace process. These are some of the... more
In Myanmar, as in many other parts of the world, politics, conflict and peace negotiations are considered “male domains.”1 With some exceptions,2 women’s experiences of armed conflict and contributions to peace are largely unrecognized, undocumented and unaccounted for. But many women who have had distinct experiences of armed conflict are engaging within their communities in creative strategies to mitigate the impact of conflict, make and build enduring peace. However, these... more