On paper, women in Myanmar are equal to men, but in reality they face real discrimination. Less than ten percent of seats in parliament are held by women and research by Oxfam shows that women encounter enormous barriers to taking on leadership roles. Oxfam works hard to ensure that the promotion of women’s rights is central to all of its programmes, but with partner Gender Development Initiative (GDI), Oxfam is building targeted leadership capacity of women to get involved in decision making at all levels – from local to national. Oxfam’s women in political leadership programme also aims for more women to gain control over their lives, and to do this, we are working with communities to raise awareness on women’s rights and tackle issues around gender discrimination. Oxfam's research and advocacy on gender equality is focused on generating evidence to suppot more progressive policies that will benefit women.
In 2016 Oxfam in Myanmar also launched a new programme to support local women's organisations and other CSOs with strong records on supporting women rights. This programme aims to ensure that local women's organisations that specifically support poor women in communities to understand and articulate their needs and rights are getting the support they need to operate.