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Women's Empowerment in MyanmarThere is still a long way to go in order to achieve universal gender equality. However, more governments and organizations around the world are making this a priority. As such, there is progress being made to improving women’s empowerment in Myanmar.

One of the most notable recent pushes for gender equality was the U.N. Millennium Development Goal number three, which seeks to promote gender equality and empower women. This goal has helped governments and NGOs all over the world have a better understanding of the importance of prioritizing women’s empowerment.

Myanmar is an example of a country that still has a long way to go to achieve gender equality. But progress is being made in closing the gender gap. The country is at a key juncture and must continue to develop in a way that benefits its entire population.

Here are some of the positive steps that are being taken toward women’s empowerment in Myanmar.

  1. Myanmar’s Ministry of Social Welfare and Relief and Resettlement is implementing reforms that enhance gender equality and empowerment. The ministry is cooperating with other international organizations to work toward women’s empowerment in Myanmar.
  2. Myanmar’s government created a National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women. This plan includes many of the same areas of focus as the Beijing Platform for Action, the agenda for women’s empowerment adopted by the United Nations. The National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women is a ten-year plan. It includes directives targeting the key areas that affect women’s lives and indicates practical ways to address the issues that Myanmar’s women experience.
  3. U.N. Women has been working in Myanmar since 2013. The organization has made electing more women to government positions one of its priorities. This will give women a stronger voice in politics and make sure that their concerns are heard in all areas of government. Other priorities include ending violence against women and girls and working for women’s economic empowerment.
  4. The Gender Equality Network was founded in Myanmar in 2008. This NGO works toward women’s empowerment in Myanmar by influencing government policy as well as social and cultural norms.

Women’s empowerment in Myanmar has improved in key ways, but there is still work to be done. Because of the long history of patriarchal societies ingrained in cultures across the globe, progress toward women’s empowerment is often slower than we would hope for it to be.

It is important to recognize the progress that is being made while maintaining a commitment to the goal of complete gender equality across the globe.

– Aaron Childree

Photo: Flickr

Women in Afghanistan
Afghanistan’s population largely consists of people under 24 years of age, and about 400,000 people are entering the workforce every year. It is hard enough finding a job as a young graduate, but it’s even harder for the women in Afghanistan. The women in Afghanistan who try to get an education or become working members of the society still face a backlash from men.

Although 64 percent of Afghans believe women should be allowed to work, many men still feel that women should be forbidden from pursuing an education. Girls who attempt to get an education face great danger. Schools for girls have been burned down, teachers have been threatened and killed and girls have been injured walking to and from school. The women who actually complete their education often have forces working against them, preventing them from getting a job.

In December 2015, U.N. Women developed an internship program to help women who have graduated from college acquire skills and develop a work ethic to better prepare them for the working world in Afghanistan. As of now, 48 women have completed the U.N. Women’s internship program in Afghanistan. It is a six-month program, where two months is spent training the women in different professional skills, and four months is spent interning with an organization in the woman’s chosen field, where they receive a stipend from U.N. Women for the duration of their internship period.

As drastic and detrimental as things are for women in Afghanistan, the country is making progress for women and girls in education, political participation and in their economic role. The National Unity Government has committed to the empowerment of women and recognizes that equal opportunity for women is necessary for stabilizing Afghanistan and ensuring that the country develops in a sustainable way. There are more women in power than ever before in history – 27.7% of parliament consists of women, four ministries and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission are led by women, and three women serve as ambassadors. Also, Afghanistan has in place a National Action Plan for implementing a resolution for the peace and security of women. These strides for progress show that there have been efforts in promoting and upholding a peaceful society with equal opportunity for women.

The internship program has helped the women in the program with vital social and professional connections with different programs around the world, some of which have offered these women jobs after completing their internships. The U.N. Women internship opportunity is helping women in Afghanistan look more suitable and appealing to job recruiters, even more appealing than the many young men they are competing against for jobs.

Women in Afghanistan continue to be disproportionately affected by poverty, discrimination and exploitation. There is still a substantial amount of resistance and discrimination in the workforce, but Afghanistan is making progress. With help from U.N. Women, the working and educated women in Afghanistan can be the progressive rebels that serve as role models and leaders to all other women and girls. Although Afghanistan has established ambitious goals, these actions are necessary to ensure that progress is not reversed and to preserve the great gains the country has made.

Kayla Mehl

Photo: Flickr

International Women Development Champion AwardThe International Women Development Champion Award honors exemplary women who have dedicated their lives and have committed their efforts to the economic development of Africa and African women. On 24th March, the President of UN Women National Committee Canada, Almas Jiwani, was awarded the International Women Development Champion Award in Paris. She is the first Canadian and the first UN Woman representative to receive this award. The initiatives she took in trying to connect the gaps between the corporate world and the humanitarian world made her a new face for humanitarianism. She has put tremendous efforts into establishing change through excellence and dedication to philanthropy.

Almas Jiwani expressed how this award promotes equality, “We must continue investing in African women and increase their involvement in the political structures in place and in everyday life.” Furo Giami, the Executive Director of the Center for Economic and Leadership Development said that it’s an honor to present Almas Jiwani with this award to recognize her efforts and achievements at contributing to the end of global poverty and “all forms of vices militating the development of African women.”

Some of the women who have received this award in the past include President Joyce Banda of Malawi, Vice President Joice Mujuru of Zimbabwe, Business Leader Wendy Luhabe of South Africa, Ida Odinga (wife of the Prime Minister of Kenya), Rt. Hon. Anne Makinda (the Speaker of Parliament in Tanzania) and others.

– Leen Abdallah

Source: Market Wire