Lack of women’s participation in politics raised at Mon Political Conference

January 18, 2018

WCRP: Members of the women’s committee at the Mon Political Conference held last weekend in Mawlamyine, Mon State, have voiced their concern over the lack of women’s participation in politics. While women’s marginalization in the political sphere is slowly decreasing, they argued more needs to be done to encourage and empower women to engage politically.

Photo credit: Mon Young Monk Network

Mon women often [think they] lack the experience to participate in politics. [Many] women still think that politics is not a woman’s concern. We need to provide a lot of encouragement for them to be involved in politics. It is very important for women to be involved in the political system in order to influence political decisions [that affect them] such as policy and legal reform,” said Mi Cherry Soe, member of the steering committee for the conference.

She added, “currently, CSOs [Civil Society Organizations] are stronger [than in the past, but] …they are not involved in decision-making or policy reform. If women can be involved more in a decision-making role, it has the potential to find solutions for current problems, such as sexual violence.”

In addition, committee member Mi Ngwe Lay argued that it is not enough that women’s groups are increasingly invited to participate in political events, but that capacity must be built and promoted in order for genuine and meaningful participation to occur.

It is very important for women to be involved in political issues. It is also important to promote their roles and leadership skills. The situation now is better than before. Mon women were invited to participate in politics less in the past. Nowadays, we don’t need to request to participate in this event anymore. They welcome us. [Now], women have a chance to participate as a chairperson or committee member at the Mon Political Conference. We only have a few women who have the experience to participate in political issues well and we must build and promote our skills so that we may be involved in all roles in the political sector.”

She added, “we must encourage all women to be involved not only in this Mon Political Conference, but to participate in every discussion which is related to political issues and to participate in changing the attitudes of people toward women’s involvement.”

The Mon Political Conference was held in Mawlamyine, Mon state from January 13th to 14th 2018. The conference was organized by monks and Mon CSOs, including the Mon State Youth Network and the Mon Women’s Network.

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