Workshop in Mon State promotes growing women’s leadership roles

October 23, 2012

HURFOM: Last month, thirteen women from small villages across Thanbyuzayat Township in Mon State were invited to attend a women’s leadership training. The in-depth workshopwas designed toencourage women’s involvement in decision-making and policy development and advance the participants’ understanding of gender dynamics and women’s political and civil rights.

One of the facilitators that ledthe gender trainings explained, “We targeted both formal and informal women leaders, selecting participants that serve leadership roles in their local communities and with community based organizations.Most of the participants had not received training specific to human rights, gender, and CEDAW [the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women] before. I am happy to see that the trainees areso motivated and active, and they understand the issues. They ask excellent questions and their concerns are very valuable. I hope they are going to apply and share what they get from this training, because most are already in leadership roles in their communities.In my opinion, it is a cultural barrier that deters women from becoming community leaders.”

A workshop trainee reflected a similar perspective by saying, “Before,most women were not included in leadership roles due to the culture of their particular community,but now we are trying to participate. We want to clearly understand leadership skills because when men alone fill those roles and address women’s issues, they do not understand what women want or listen to women’s voices. This is why we have to find a way to participate.”

She added, “We would like for the [workshop] trainer to give women’s leadership trainings all around Mon State. We are given a lot of information in this training, and after, we will share the knowledge back in our communities. Even though we already work in leadership roles, we lack awareness of leadership skills.”

Another participant concluded, “We want more of this kind of training. The workshop is very useful for us because when we return to our leadership roles, we will know how to manage members of the team and utilize leadership skills. Also, when we make decisions on our team, we do not need to worry so much about making mistakes and can have confidence in our decisions. In the future, we will try to be good leaders that promote leadership roles for women in our villages and share the knowledge we get from this training. We will try to have more confidence in being leaders in our community.”

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