Delegation of Social Democrats visits Myanmar

Delegation of Social Democrats visits Myanmar

A delegation from the Social Democratic Party of Denmark visited Myanmar from 25th-29th June 2018 in order to share knowledge and explore strategies for recruiting more women in the party and candidate selection process, as part of DIPD’s Women in Politics Programme in Myanmar. The delegation also addressed networking and advocating to increase women’s voices. The delegation included Lise Thorsen, leader of the party in a Copenhagen constituency, leader of Copenhagen Network for integration and jobs and member of Copenhagen City council, and Katrine Skov, the founder and coordinator of the women’s network (Helga network) in the Social Democratic Party and member of Gladsaxe City Council.Bilateral meeting with the parties

The delegations also held workshops with the three biggest political parties in Myanmar (the National League for Democracy, Union Solidarity and Development Party, and the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy) bilaterally from 26th – 28th July 2018. Lise Thorsen presented about the importance of women in politics. Katrine Skov explained how to use networks and communicate through her discussion of the Helga Network. The representatives also discussed the challenges of women in politics. Lise and Katrine also shared case studies and approaches of recruiting and reaching out to female voters. Daw Nan Yee Yee Tun from the National League for Democracy, commented on the meeting: “The visit is good timing for women in the party because the 2020 election is coming soon and today’s meeting gave us motivation and inspiration.”

Multiparty Seminar

DIPD also held a seminar focusing on advocacy to advancing gender equality and building external alliances and networks on 29th June 2018 led by the delegation. Thirty eight representatives from 14 political parties attended the seminar. The purpose was to support female party members to advocate effectively to get women involved in policy-making, leadership roles and generating support from external organizations.  Katrine Skov presented how to build a network of women in the party and brief about the case of Helga Network. She also shared what advocacy is and why it is important, and shared case studies of advocating for gender equality from Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Dr. Hnin Shwe Zin Hlaing from the Gender Equality Network Myanmar also supported in mapping out organizations in Myanmar which are interested in gender equality.

In response to the issues discussed at the seminar, Daw Nan Win Kyi from Pao National Organization noted, “Women issues are still not seen as important issues in the political agenda, so it is crucial to raise collective voices of women by using effective advocacy tools and approaches. Today’s seminar provided various know-how and innovative approaches.” 

Meeting Dinner with Mentors and Mentees

DIPD initiated a pilot programme of the Mentorship Programme for Women in Political Parties in December 2017 with the objective of empowering the female political leaders through mentoring the professional and personal development of female political leaders.  Female members of political parties such as Arakan National Party (ANP), Pao National Organization (PNO), Kayin People Party (KPP) and National Unity Party (NUP) have been participating in the programme. The delegation also met the Mentors and Mentees of the programme to share experiences, ideas and lesson learnt. “Myanmar and Denmark do not have the same political culture but we have same challenges. Today’s meeting gives us ideas and inspiration regarding how to overcome those challenges.”, said Daw Oo Thank Khine from Arakan National Party.

Overall, the visit provided opportunities for exchanging experiences and valuable lessons that gives motivation and inspirations for female politicians in Myanmar. DIPD will continue to support the engagement between political parties in Myanmar and Denmark with the objectives of increasing the representation and voices of female politicians in Myanmar.

Read more about DIPD’s Myanmar Multiparty Democracy Programme.