Advancing opportunities for women’s leadership in Myanmar

Friday, February 28, 2014
Panel at the press conference. Famous song composer Mr. Myint Moe Aung is explaining about the song composing contest. Photo by: Oxfam

Oxfam and partner, Women’s Organisations Network (WON) are launching an exciting new project that will bring together famous musicians to inspire the creation of music that raises awareness on women’s rights, women’s leadership and the role for women in governance and politics. Celebrities and communities will participate in a nation-wide song writing competition, and winning entrants will have the chance to record their songs, shoot music videos and be featured on a DVD alongside famous national celebrities and local musicians. A national concert will bring together winning entrants, celebrity musicians and women leaders in Myanmar.

Evidence shows that in Myanmar women do not have equality with men. This is an issue which needs to be addressed. Women continue to be blocked from taking up positions of leadership, are discriminated against in the workplace, are subject to gender based violence, and lack female role models to encourage aspiring young women to become involved in leadership roles. Women’s participation in leadership roles and political process is very limited

Recent ground-breaking research by Oxfam, Trocaire, Care and Action Aid, in partnership with the Gender Equality Network, shows women continue to face significant barriers to taking up positions of leadership across all levels of society. This fact has drastic consequences for women’s empowerment and also for the prospect of maximizing Myanmar’s future development.
Jane Lonsdale, Oxfam in Myanmar's Associate Country Director stated that: "Women have a vital role to play in the country’s development. Their skills and leadership must not be left out if Myanmar is to reach its full potential. Inclusive development means all the people of Myanmar have a part to play. This project will help women to realise that potential by raising awareness and promoting their role in leadership and decision-making.”

The big barriers that research shows are faced by women mean that strong and co-ordinated action is necessary to realise positive changes. The Government of Myanmar and other decision-makers need to prioritise and ensure budget is provided for the National Strategic Action Plan for the Advancement of Women, establish and implement a strong Anti Violence Against Women Law,
But this alone is not enough. Action is needed to challenge the social attitudes and norms that hold women back and stop them from accessing leadership roles in society and politics, and to implement initiatives to support women’s development.

“I want to contribute and am contributing for the development of our country with my profession. I just want to leave a message to the women leaders that all women from various classes, including me, housewives and women bread winners are supporting women’s leadership”
Sung Tin Par (vocalist)

Contact information: 

Jane Lonsdale, Oxfam in Myanmar, Associate Country Director
Email: jlonsdale@oxfam.org.uk Telephone: +95 (0)9420073932

Nay Zin Latt, Oxfam in Myanmar, Programme Manager
Email: nayzinlatt@oxfam.org.uk Telephone: +95 (0)9731 83645

Su Sandi Myo Lwin, Oxfam in Myanmar, Project Manager
Email: susandimyolwin@oxfam.org.uk Telephone: +95 (0)9450044035