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Posts from the ‘Myanmar’ Category

International Women’s Day in Bhutan – The fight for gender equality transcends international borders

The struggle for gender equality in Denmark dates back more than a century; in other parts of the world the fight has just begun, but what remains common across the globe is that gender equality is an urgent issue worth fighting for. The transcending character of International Women’s Day is apparent in Thimpu, Bhutan, where DIPD is co-hosting a regional conference on how to improve female representation in politics.

 

Firm determination for change

International Women’s Day symbolizes what has been achieved in regards to gender equality across the globe. And there is much to celebrate. But the 8th of March is also an opportunity to discuss what is yet to be accomplished.

This is exactly what is happening today in Thimpu, where politicians from Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan are gathered at the 2nd National Conference on Women in Governance, Leadership and Politics, co-organized by the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD). And the goal is crystal clear: the political parties express firm determination to bring more women to the forefront of politics to be given political opportunities and to take political responsibility.

As Dorji Choden, Minister of Works and Human Settlement in Bhutan, says:

“Women can no longer stand at the sideline – CSOs, Government, political parties and private companies must work together to bring positive change.”

The commitment to deliver on gender equality and bring change is reinforced by Bhutan’s Prime Minister, Tshering Tobgay:

“When you die, what happens? We believe in rebirth. Would you like to be reborn as a women or as a man? In this light we all better ensure that gender equality prevails,” says the Prime Minister.

 

The parliament of Bhutan, where only 7 percent of MP’s are women. But there is a strong will in the country for this to change.

The Danish experience

Also attending the conference in Bhutan is former Danish MP Gitte Seeberg, ready to share experiences from the Danish struggle for gender equality:

“The development has been ambiguous in Denmark, where we for example have seen a parliament without women in important councils, and where women still are underrepresented in the business world and have lower salaries than men.”

Although the fight for equality is still underway in Denmark, Gitte Seeberg believes that the experiences from Denmark can contribute to the democratic development of one of the world’s youngest democracies, Bhutan:

“It has taken Danish women 100 years to get to where we are today. It is absolutely necessary that we help women in Bhutan in  gaining the tools to move faster than we have done.”

And much suggests that Bhutan’s political development will move at a much faster pace than in Denmark. Democracy was not introduced in Bhutan until 2008. Since then the positive development of democracy has been confirmed with free parliamentary elections in 2013 and local elections in 2016.

Yeshey Choden from the People’s Democratic Party of Bhutan is encouraged by the latest elections, but there is still a long way to go – only 7 % of the elected MPs are female.

“We hope that the debate and renewed attention to gender balance on 8th March during the 2nd National Conference on Women in Governance, Leadership and Politics in Bhutan will provide a drive for more fundamental change in the future,” says Yeshey Choden.

DIPD Director Rasmus Helveg Petersen on his way to a meeting together with the leader of the political opposition in Bhutan.

Real change takes place 360 days a year

As important as the 8th of March is in creating awareness of the urgent issue of gender equality, DIPD Director, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, stressed that the day should never stand alone:

“Although it is great to be celebrating the achievements made today, it is important to remember that the real change takes place 360 days of the year.”

 


The conference on women in politics from March 8th – 11th is organized by Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW) in partnership with DIPD with participation by DIPD Director Rasmus Helveg Petersen and DIPD Senior Adviser Hanne Lund Madsen. Professor Drude Dahlerup and former MP Gitte Seeberg are also attending.

 

More information

Read more about DIPD’s partnership with Bhutan Network for Empowering Women and DIPD’s work in Myanmar and Nepal.

Contact DIPD Senior Advisor, Hanne Lund Madsen: hlm@dipd.dk

 

Women lining up for democracy

In anticipation of the celebration of International Women’s Day on 8th March the political parties, participating in the multiparty dialogue in Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan, expressed firm determination to bring more women to the forefront to take political responsibilities.

Maran Ja Seng Hkawn, MP from Kachin Myanmar (KDSP), is eager to share experiences with colleagues from Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal and expresses commitment to make more women line up for democracy:

“Today there are many different types of barriers – some changes require firm action from current political party leadership, but other changes are in the hands of women themselves to initiate”.

In  Nepal, a stronger position of women is both due to the prolonged political struggle that has made the crucial role of women visible, the efforts of the women’s movement, the joint and concerted efforts of the multiparty platform JOMPOPS, as well as legislative measures such as quotas.

DIPD director, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, held a key note speech stressing the need for cooperation and not just competition among political parties to bring about changes.

Colleagues from Bhutan are encouraged by the increase of female representation in the last local elections in Bhutan, but the overall result was still too low to ensure gender balance in the governance of Bhutan.

“Many of the agreements made by political parties and related stakeholders in 2014 still await implementation – including mentoring programmes for women candidates and MP’s, gender reviews of party manifestos and an increase in party nomination of women for political positions,” as expressed by Yeshey Choden, Peoples Democratic Party, Bhutan.

Maran Ja Seng Hkawn, MP from Kachin Myanmar (KDSP) and Yeshey Choden, Peoples Democratic Party, from Bhutan in talks with DIPD Senior Adviser Hanne Lund Madsen

“But we hope that the debate and renewed attention to gender balance on 8th March during the 2nd National Conference on Women in Governance, Leadership and Politics in Bhutan will provide a drive for more fundamental change in the future,” says Yeshey Choden.

The multiparty dialogue seminar was organized by Bhutan Democracy Dialogue and Election Commission Bhutan in partnership with DIPD with participation by DIPD Director Rasmus Helveg Petersen and DIPD Senior Adviser Hanne Lund Madsen. Tomorrow at the 8th March celebration Drude Dahlerup and Gitte Seeberg will also share their experiences with Women in Politics.

 

 

 

 

More information

Read more about DIPD’s partnership with Bhutan Network for Empowering Women and DIPD’s work in Myanmar and Nepal.

Contact DIPD Senior Advisor, Hanne Lund Madsen: hlm@dipd.dk

Managing Myanmar’s natural resources

Beginning 31 Januar, DIPD and the Natural Resource Governance Institute organised a two-day dialogue on federalism and natural resource management. Here 21 political parties from Mandalay region and Shan State convened to share views and policy options.

With the resumption of dialogue on the peace process, political parties are responsible for contributing to the development of policy agreements in a range of areas. One of the most crucial and challenging of these policy areas is natural resource management. How the government manages the revenue from these natural resources, including how it is shared between national and sub-national governments, will be instrumental in determining to what extent this revenue contributes to Myanmar’s development.

To support political parties, as one of the key stakeholders in the peace process, to make a useful contribution to the development of policy frameworks on natural resource management, DIPD and the Natural Resource Governance Institute co-sponsored a two-day dialogue on federalism and natural resource management with 39 leaders of 21 political parties from Mandalay Region and Shan State from 31 January-1 February.  This dialogue helped parties better understand the current situation of natural resource management in Myanmar, global best practices in natural resource management, and policy options that would be relevant for Myanmar’s context.

U Maung Maung Sein, NLD raises a question

During dialogue between the political parties represented, party leaders were able to identify some important areas for reform, such as the need for greater transparency in natural resource management and revenue sharing, the value of sharing natural resource revenues with high-poverty or underserved communities, and how to consider offsetting the negative impact of mining in some communities. Parties also recognized that decentralization of natural resource management was not a panacea in terms of ensuring that the public benefits from natural resources, as demonstrated by the case of Indonesia. The parties agreed to consider more carefully how to divide responsibilities and benefits between national and sub-national governments so that the public benefits optimally from natural resources extracted.

“It should be defined clearly in the constitution how to allocate accountabilities and benefits between central and sub-national governments in natural resource”, reflected by Khun Satt Aung from Pao National Party.

DIPD and NRGI will continue to support parties at the national and sub-national level with technical advice and platforms for dialogue as they provide inputs to the union peace process on natural resource management issues. This support will be crucial in helping parties build consensus on policy positions that are evidence-based and inclusive in providing benefits to all of Myanmar’s citizens.

Group Exercise on the allocation of responsibilities and benefits between central and sub- national governments.

More information

Read more about DIPD’s work in Myanmar, where we are part of the EU supported STEP Democracy Programme.

Contact DIPD Myanmar Country Coordinator, Khin Thazin Myint: ktzm@dipd.dk

Contact DIPD Senior Advisor, Hanne Lund Madsen: hlm@dipd.dk

Including women in Myanmar’s peace process

On 2-3 February, DIPD and UNWomen held a two-day forum on women in Myanmar’s peace process. The forum saw representatives from 12 parties convene to increase awareness on issues facing women in conflict situations and to enhance women’s inclusion in the ongoing peace process.

Myanmar’s efforts toward peace, despite some setbacks, remain a beacon of hope for achieving a lasting peace in Myanmar after decades of military rule and conflicts in Myanmar’s ethnic minority regions. The Union Peace Conference, otherwise known as the Panglong Conference, have provided opportunities to a wide range of political parties to hold discussions with the military, ethnic armed groups, and the government on the foundations for achieving a lasting peace. While conflict has yet to abate in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine, these talks have provided an important opportunity to identify possible solutions and compromises that could provide the basis for a more just and stable union.

Despite the relative inclusiveness of the Panglong Conference, women have remained on the margins of the conference, especially as party representatives. Gender activists were successful at encouraging greater inclusion of women among some of the stakeholders but have yet to make significant progress at including women among the party representatives at the conference. For these reasons, DIPD collaborated with UNWomen on 2-3 February in Yangon to hold a two-day forum on women in the peace process with 22 representatives from 12 political parties. The objectives of the forum were to increasing understanding of the issues of women in conflict situations and peace negotiations, and to support parties to develop concrete actions to enhance the inclusion of women and their priorities in the peace process.

“Women participation in peace process still very low and only 13% are women despite the target 30% of women participation in peace process. Not only quantity but also quality is important for meaningful participation of women,” said Nant Khin Aye Oo, Co-secretary of the Kayin Peoples Party.

At the forum, political party representatives, including both senior male and female party leaders, discussed the lack of participation of women in the peace process to date and some strategies to generate greater engagement of women in the process. They also discussed how women experience conflict and insecurity differently and the unique contributions that women can make to the peace process. At the end of the discussion, participants resolved to take a number of steps to enhance the participation of women in the peace process and enhance the consideration of gender issues in the peace process, including conducting  joint workshops to further discuss the issues related to gender perspectives in the peace process, developing an information sharing and exchange mechanism/platform, leading joint efforts needed for increasing the number of women participation and their priorities in the peace process, and lobbying party leaders at the decision making level to develop gender-inclusive policies within the parties and define the roles of women in political parties more concretely.“It is critical that we, starting from men sharing responsibilities in the household, build capacity within the parties, to create more spaces for women participation in peace process,” reflected Tar Hla Phay, a Central Executive Committee Member from the Ta-Arng (Palaung) National Party.

DIPD will continue, as part of our Women In Politics (WIP) programme, to cooperate with political parties, UNWomen and other stakeholders to highlight the issue of gender inclusiveness in the peace talks, and to support parties to promote the participation of women in the process and the meaningful consideration of gender issues during the talks.

More information

Read more about DIPD’s work in Myanmar, where we are part of the EU supported STEP Democracy Programme.

Contact DIPD Myanmar Country Coordinator, Khin Thazin Myint: ktzm@dipd.dk

Contact DIPD Senior Advisor, Hanne Lund Madsen: hlm@dipd.dk

Internship position: Democratic development in Myanmar

Job title: Intern; Youth in Politics & Monitoring

Job function: Internship

Location: Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)

Period: The fall semester of 2017

 

 

Are you interested in international development, the development of democratic political cultures in transitioning countries, and the engagement of youth in particular? Then this internship at the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD) might be just what you are looking for!

The DIPD team in Myanmar is looking for an intern for the fall semester of 2017 to participate and assist in the day-to-day work with developing and strengthening the democratic political culture in Myanmar. You will also get the opportunity to get responsibility for your own projects during the internship.


Your tasks will include – but not be limited to:

  • Assisting the Youth Project Coordinator in implementing activities, including youth trainings and political dialogues
  • Supporting innovation in monitoring and evaluation of the DIPD program in Myanmar, especially on results achieved among political youth – i.e. storytelling, video etc.
  • Drafting reports, newsletters, posters, brochures and flyers and news in coordination with the Media and Communications Coordinator both for Myanmar audience and Danish media
  • Maintaining overview of information available and shared on social media
  • Planning and developing political briefs and other communication materials for circulating to internal and external stakeholders
  • Attending events and meetings and provide minutes to relevant team members
  • Assisting in other assignments on request


Requirements:

  • Enrollment at a Danish university in a relevant field of study e.g. – Political Science, Sociology, Asian Studies, Global Development, International Development Studies and other similar branches of social sciences
  • Fluent in spoken and written Danish and English
  • Experience in working with communication (Danish and English) is an asset
  • Knowledge of democracy assistance and policy is an asset
  • Knowledge and experience within monitoring and evaluation of projects is an asset
  • Experience from youth politics is an asset, but not a requirement


Practical information
You will become part of a small, energetic and dedicated team located in downtown Yangon. The internship is unpaid, but DIPD will cover your expenses for travel to and from Myanmar and your insurance. Furthermore you will receive a monthly compensation to help cover living expenses. Our office in Myanmar will assist you in finding a place to live, but it will essentially be your own responsibility.

You will attend preparatory meetings and briefings at the DIPD HQ in Copenhagen, prior to your internship.

You will be appointed a supervisor at DIPD, who will supervise your work during the internship.

The internship period is four months, and it is a full time position, equal to 37 working hours per week.


Application:  Application deadline is March 15th 2017
Applications to this position should be sent to DIPD Senior Advisor, Hanne Lund Madsen hlm@dipd.dk with copy to csteen@dipd.dk. The application should include your CV, a statement of interest, grade transcript form your current studies and documentation of enrollment, you may also include recommendations. All documents should be in English and merged into one pdf-file.

For further information regarding the position, please contact DIPD Senior Advisor, Hanne Lund Madsen.