Promoting Women's Rights

A group of women are discussing about their concern for their village development and disaster risk in Ayeyarwaddy region. Photo by: Kaung Htet/ Oxfam

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 is working with local organisations and local government to change public perceptions about the value and legitimacy of women’s leadership and to help duty bearers – such as Government – make sure women's voices are given space within important local planning processes.

Women’s leadership training has proven a successful way of promoting women’s rights across all walks of life, so across the country, Oxfam is providing leadership training to women in Government and civil society as well as women community leaders. This helps to develop women’s leadership capacity - formally, to stand for and hold elected office and build the skills needed to influence decision making by Governments and Ethnic Administrations, and informally, to develop their community leadership skills – activities which help to break the existing barriers that prevent women from participating in public life. Oxfam is also working with local partners, Members of Parliament and Government departments to embed models of gender budgeting – budget processes which take into account women’s views and reflect the spending needs which are most important for them and their families. Including the needs and views of women in Government budgets often results in more spending on key services such as health and education.