Low participation rates of women and youth in Mon Unity Party (MUP)

January 28, 2020

HURFOM: Despite a policy decision of the Mon Unity Party (MUP) to pursue increased participation of  youth and women as election candidates in the 2020 election, according to Nai San Tin, Joint Secretary (2) of the MUP, this has been difficult to achieve.

We want [to see] more youth involvement. Youth will become leaders in the future. But the number of youth and women [currently] participating is too low in the party. There is no specific [target] percentage of (youth and women) participation number limited when choosing candidates,” said Nai San Tin.

Although the party has invited youth and women to work on this challenge. Only party members can advance to become election candidates. Without first increasing the number of youth and women to become party members, candidate representation will remain low. 

Min Htaw, a youth involved in politics himself notes there are many systemic challenges facing this demographic.  Women and youth are often struggling for their own livelihoods, and have less time, community supports or interest to become involved politically. 

Though inviting youth and women to get involved (in politics is a good step), they don’t always have the confidence to participate yet. I think there will be more participation from them in the future,” noted Min Htaw.

Another barrier for youth and women joining the political party is economics, as they must contribute to party funding noted Mi Lawi Han, Director of the Woman’s Affairs unit for the MUP. 

If organizations provide support for women’s [economic and political] empowerment, women’s participation in the political party will increase,” said Mi Lawi Han.

MUP is a political party combining the cooperation of the All Mon Democracy Party, the Mon National Party and Rehmonya forces.  The Union Election Commission granted permission to establish the MUP on May 17, 2019.

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