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Women Trailblazers: Call for a New Era of Reform

November 25th, 2022  •  Author:   Burmese Women’s Union  •  2 minute read
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Similar to patriarchal societies around the world in which history has been recorded predominantly by and about men, in Burma there is little documentation about women’s participation and leadership in politics. Many
Burmese women took an active role in the anti-colonial struggle, but there are scarce resources to study this history due to a lack of systematic records.

In the 1988 uprising and later democratic movements, many women actively participated in various ways, sacrificing their time, labor, and sometimes their lives for the struggle. The women’s movement has gained momentum since
the 1988 uprising, but even up until now Burmese society is weak to acknowledge women’s rights and gender equality. Moreover, as the prolonged civil war grinds on in many parts of the country, Burmese women are targets of war and among the most vulnerable members of a war-torn society. However, such events fail to be documented, and women’s role in politics and their real suffering in prolonged conflict are far from fully known.

Border-based women’s organizations including the Burmese Women’s Union (BWU), which was founded in 1995, have analyzed the importance of women’s roles, including their participation in social revolution, the experiences of women political prisoners, and the struggles of ethnic women living under military dictatorship. BWU and other organizations aim to document these experiences and make the facts of women’s roles and suffering more widely known.

Historical experiences from all around the world have shown us that social revolutions reach their goals neither easily nor quickly. Rather, they gain ground over time, and women are among the key social forces sustaining social revolutions and making them resilient.

Because the BWU strongly believes that it is important to understand women’s participation in the 2021 Spring Revolution in detail, it now collects in the sections of this report documentation of:

(1) participation of grassroots women,
(2) participation of women from industry,
(3) participation of women government employees,
(4) participation of women human rights advocates,
(5) participation of women from political parties,
(6) participation of women in the armed struggle,
(7) participation of women with disability, and
(8) participation of LGBTI people.

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