As Myanmar’s historic reform process continues to evolve, more women are needed in leadership roles of all kinds, including in parliaments. Despite their low numbers, the positive contributions of women MPs in both national and subnational parliaments have already earned the recognition of their constituents. With general elections approaching in 2020, it is time to ask if Myanmar’s political parties will nominate more women, and if so, will they be elected. Though candidate selection very much depends on decisions by party leaders, the good news is that female candidates will not have to make this journey alone. Myanmar now has a small corps of veteran female MPs who can give constructive guidance to women running for office.
In early September 2019, The Asia Foundation and a local partner organization, Phan Tee Eain, convened the fourth nationwide Women MPs Forum in Nay Pyi Taw, with 58 women parliamentarians. These included nine MPs from the two houses of the national parliament, the Amyotha Hluttaw and Pyithu Hluttaw, and 49 MPs from parliaments in Kachin and Shan States and the regions of Yangon, Mandalay, Magwe, Sagaing, and Ayeyarwady. The forum was an opportunity to consider strategies to support female candidates in 2020. One key strategy that emerged from the discussions was to share their own experiences as woman MPs, so that female candidates will know what to expect and how to exploit their own unique strengths to win public office.
Click here to read the full article published by Asia Foundation on 23 October 2019.