Advancing Gender Equality within a Federal Governance Model in Myanmar

Christine Mary Forster

In 2015, after over 50 years of military governance, the National League for Democracy formed a government led by U Htin Kyaw as President and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as State Counsellor. A new model of governance must be negotiated, one that provides Myanmar citizens with pride in the nation-state, that fully recognizes Myanmar’s diversity in ethnicity, language and culture and that secures and guarantees the human rights of all, including women and girls. A federal model, a likely choice, would enable states and regions to enjoy constitutionally guaranteed autonomy over certain legislative and policy areas while sharing power in other areas in accordance with agreed rules.

Gender equality issues are more effectively addressed at the start of a process of institutional and constitutional restructuring and reform. In Myanmar, therefore, a unique opportunity has arisen as a new governance model is negotiated: an opportunity to introduce mechanisms to secure the rights of women and to advance gender equality. This report contributes to that process by providing an analysis — the first conducted to date — of gender and federalism in the Myanmar context.

As Myanmar advances towards further democratization, peace and economic and social development, it is crucial that it strongly embeds the principles of gender equality and women’s rights in its legal foundations. Therefore, this report aims to identify, within different models of federalism, the opportunities and drawbacks of each model for advancing gender equality. Further, this report utilizes examples from other jurisdictions in order to propose mechanisms that can be developed to ensure the advancement of rights for women and girls... Read more

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Geographic coverage: Myanmar
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