Enhancing Opportunities for Women and Youth in Politics

Enhancing Opportunities for Women and Youth in Politics

From December 4-8 the Danish MP for the Social Democratic Party, Astrid Krag, visited DIPD’s Myanmar program to share experiences on how parties can enhance women and youth participation within their ranks and support women and youth to identify strategies for success in Parliament and policy advocacy.

Having served as Denmark’s Minister of Health at the age of 29, Member of Parliament Astrid Krag is an outstanding example of the leadership potential of young politicians. She has demonstrated leadership from a very early age, challenging barriers to young people and especially to young women in Danish politics. To impart some of her strategies and ideas empowering youth and women in political leadership, Astrid Krag visited DIPD’s political party partners in Myanmar in December, sharing ideas with leaders from political parties including the National League for Democracy (NLD), Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), and a range of ethnic parties, members of parliament and youth party representatives.

During her conversations in Myanmar, Krag built on her personal experiences to advocate party leaders on the importance of engaging youth and women in meaningful leadership and decision making processes. She discussed the huge responsibilities she had taken on as youth party leader and also as a Minister of Health. To inspire confidence in women and youth leadership, she emphasized how despite her initial reluctance, she was able to deliver her work at a very high level, and received support from those who nominated her for the positions. As a senior party leader, Krag was able to both encourage party leaders to have confidence in youth and women politicians and motivate women and youth leaders to take up challenging roles, even if those roles initially seem daunting. Daw Khin Phyu, a member of the NLD’s Central Women’s Committee said that, “It is a good opportunity for us to hear the experiences of young woman leader,” as they seek to expand the work of the CWC.

Danish MP Astrid Krag

Astrid also argued that inclusion of women and youth in the political parties and democratic processes must be considered as urgent–that cannot be postponed until the country has solved its “high politics” issues like the democratic transition and the peace process. Inclusion is essential to ensure a broad-based foundation for the transition, peace, and democratic system. She emphasized that proactive steps are essential for political inclusion, as opposed to merely stating that legal equality and open access do not prohibit women ignores the real situations of women and youth living in patriarchal systems. Dr. Nandar Hla Myint, a spokesperson for the USDP said that, “I strongly agree with the point that inclusion and representation of women and youth broadens the political agenda, and also that the party itself needs to find a strategy to have more inclusion of youth and women.”

In the remaining period leading up to the 2020 elections, DIPD’s Myanmar programme will build on the strategies and approaches discussed by Astrid to follow up with parties in their efforts to enact internal party reforms that provide more opportunities for women and youth leadership, as well as support efforts by women and youth in parties to take more active roles as policy advocates, candidates, campaigners, and mentors.

More information

Read more about DIPD’s engagements in Myanmar

Contact Senior Program Officer at DIPD, Martin Rosenkilde Pedersen at mrp@dipd.dk

Khin Thazin Myint, Myanmar Country Coordinator: ktzm@dipd.dk or (+95) 9 519 4929