“We did not get the opportunity to really air our concerns… And even when we did, we were only given five minutes to talk about gender issues.”
These are the words of Doi Bu, Parliamentarian and one of only two women in the two major government committees in the Myanmar peace process at an event arranged by the Embassy of Sweden Section Office in Yangon and the Alliance for Gender Inclusion in the Peace Process (AGIPP) on 17 December.
Research now shows that women’s participation helps ensure that peace agreements are concluded and that peace is more sustainable. As the peace process in Myanmar moves into its second phase, female politicians and women’s rights activists are therefore voicing concerns that the continued exclusion of women would undermine prospects for long-term peace in the country.
The event brought together more than twenty journalists from print and broadcast media in Myanmar in an effort to encourage local media to increase engagement on women’s participation in the peace process in Myanmar. Three senior experts with extensive experience shared their views: Nang Raw, Assistant Director with the Nyein (Shalom) Foundation, Mi Kun Chan Non, Team Leader of Mon Women’s Network and Doi Bu, Parliamentarian and member of the Union Peacemaking Working Committee. The discussion was moderated by Thin Lei Win, Chief Correspondent for Myanmar Now.
The event was part of furthering the Swedish Government’s feminist foreign policy and also a way to highlight the 15th anniversary of the UN Security Council resolution on Women, Peace and Security. The event coincided with Stockholm high level meeting on women’s participation in peace processes and mediation hosted by the Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström.
The many interviews after the event indicate that local media have an interest in these issues. Here is an example of articles in English released as a result of the event.