Women in Burma, by law, have the right to vote, run for office, and own property. Nevertheless, strong cultural norms and ingrained discrimination remain a major obstacle to gender parity in Burma. The Women’s Initiative Platform (WIP) is a civil society organization working with support from NED to advance the status of women in Burma, to increase female political participation, and to end violence against women and girls.
With the Rohingya crisis and the escalation of armed conflict in Kachin and Shan States, nationwide ceasefire negotiations have provided an opportunity to empower a new cadre of emerging minority community leaders, including women. WIP launched an intensive training program for a cohort of diverse emerging women leaders from women’s rights organizations along with minority ethnic political parties that are interested in building the capacity of their female party members. In the past year, the program worked to mobilize emerging women activists and political leaders around the key issues of increasing women’s political participation and fostering a positive policy environment, particularly ahead of the next nationwide elections in 2020.