Not Enough Mon Women in Decision-Making Roles, Civil Society Groups Say

Friday, March 6, 2020

There are still too few Mon women in decision-making roles in politics, Mon women leaders have said, attributing the blame to traditional views on gender roles.

The statements came on the 16th annual Mon Women’s Day, held on March 5 in the Mon State capital of Mawlamyine and attended by state parliamentarians, representatives of the New Mon State Party (NMSP), Mon civil society organizations an the Mon Unity Party (MUP).

“The participation rates of women and men are completely different. Women are still lacking in leadership roles,” Mi Cherry Soe, who works with the Mon Women’s Network, told NMG. “It’s the capacity of women… another thing is because of tradition and customs,” she said, as to why she sees few women in these positions.

Mi Kon Chan Non, a member of the organizing committee for the event, pointed out how in the MUP, there are eight women on the 61-member central committee, and two women in the NMSP’s 31-member central committee.

“The percentage is too low. I am not satisfied with the current situation. We need to try various ways to increase women’s participation in leading roles,” she told NMG.

MUP, which is a merger of political parties, have insisted that they have opened participation up to women, but women must put forward more effort in taking on leadership roles.

“In the MUP, we are open to them. But it’s not enough. I think women must try hard to join decision-making bodies. Women have a responsibility to do this,” Joint Secretary 1 of the MUP Nai Layi Tama said.

He added that women themselves need to remove the barriers of restrictions created by traditions and customs in order to pursue gender equality.

Mon Women’s Day is commemorated on the birthday of the Mon queen Shin Saw Pu, which is on the 12th Waxing Day of Tapoung, on the Burmese lunar calendar.