Myanmar Times: Female representation in politics remains “strikingly low”
June 5, 2018 — The Myanmar Times profiles the Third Women MPs Forum, hosted by The Asia Foundation, to expand women parliamentarians’ technical knowledge in public financial management. The article includes commentary from Kim N.B. Ninh, the Foundation’s country representative in Myanmar and key findings from the 2017 Foundation report, Women’s Political Participation in Myanmar: Experiences of Women Parliamentarians 2011-2016.
Forty-eight female lawmakers from the Union and regional parliaments gathered in the capital city for the Third Women MPs Forum on June 2-4, organised by The Asia Foundation and Phan Tee Eain (PTE), a local NGO. The event was funded through the UK Department for International Development, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC)…Women MPs, as elected representatives of all citizens in Myanmar, bring very specific perspectives to inform law and policymaking that can help transform existing institutions and policies, which have primarily been established by men over the decades, toward greater inclusive, effective, and equitable outcomes, according to Kim Ninh, country representative of The Asia Foundation in Myanmar.
“Gender equality is difficult to achieve if there isn’t a wider public recognition of how existing political, economic and social institutions, policies and practices can discriminate against women and limit their opportunities to grow and to contribute to society,” Dr Kim told The Myanmar Times. Numerous research by The Asia Foundation, Gender Equality Network and others in recent years have shown how deeply embedded in Myanmar the notion that “men should occupy leadership positions in the public sphere and women should stay within the domestic sphere”.
“As extraordinary as it is for Myanmar to have a woman leader as Aung San Suu Kyi, that fact doesn’t change the governance structure that has been built over the decades which favour men and inadvertently deepens gender inequality. The women MPs have a pioneering role to play in bringing new voices to legislative deliberation and prioritisation, and political parties can do much more to support women’s political participation from candidate selection to what policies they include in their platforms,” she explained.
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