• Manushya Foundation

#BreakTheBias 🙅‍♀️ Women at the forefront of Myanmar's resistance









#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar📍 Since the military coup d'état of the 1st of February 2021, when the junta detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other figures from the ruling party NLD, Myanmar is plunged in terror and violence. While the military murders, tortures, intimidates and systematically represses civil and political rights, pro-democracy protests swept across the country with citizens reclaiming their rights.


On the occasion of International Women's Day, let's pay tribute to all women resisting the junta and leading life-threatening protests, fighting for their lives, and the lives of their families! Read more to learn about women's key role in the civic resistance in Myanmar! ⤵️


👭 “Women are standing at the front and, in many cases, they are leading the protests", says May Sabe Phyu, head of the Gender Equality Network (GEN). She has been lobbying the international community since the military coup to plead for the support of women’s rights organizations.


❌ On March 5, 2021, Angel, a 19-year-old activist who was part of a core group on the front lines, was shot in the head by the police and died. She immediately became a symbol of courageous protesters brutally suppressed by the military for only reclaiming their rights!


✊ Despite the military repression, the power of the people is strong! For Naw K’nyaw Paw, general secretary of the Karen's Women Organization (KWO) "women are constantly the ones making changes. They are bold, they have courage and they speak truth to power. They challenge the military dictatorship and organise people and, by doing so, live to be an example and inspire many around them.”


Let's have a look at powerful testimonies of women who relentlessly work on the ground! ⤵️


👉 Nai, 38, was a Yangon floral shop owner, who now raises funds for those in the CDM (Civil Disobedience Movement) and the anti-junta militia. She used to regularly go to the street demonstrations that broke out after the coup.


🗣 "I want to do something daily for this revolution. As I have some experience in sewing, I'm sharing this skill with CDM teachers in the border area, with the help of non-governmental organizations. I get depressed when I'm not doing anything. As I used to own a flower shop, I also earn some money from selling some flowers so I can donate that to the PDF people, but it is not much. I'm also selling CDM products (those that anti-coup groups make to get some income) online", she says. For Nai, "the only answer to solve these problems is revolution." [1]


👉 Nu, 61, works as a volunteer to support women in conflict areas. Indeed, violence against women has increased since the coup, including in conflict-affected communities, and the perpetrators can be soldiers but also residents, says Nu. She has helped in cases of sexual abuse and rape, and worked towards bringing the perpetrators to justice.


👉 Wa Toke, 56, saw her 23-year-old son leaving the house to join the armed resistance. He used to help her sell clothes and other items. Since then, she has been struggling to make a living. "These days, everybody is struggling and facing every kind of challenge. As for me, I'm the only breadwinner for my family. So I have to continue (to survive) for my family", says Wa Toke.


These stories are not isolated. Women are on the frontlines of the anti-coup movement in Myanmar. Obviously, their special role in the protests is directly linked to their position in a very conservative and patriarchal society. The military is a perfect embodiment of the conservative tradition in which ethnic minorities and women are seen as second-class citizens.


#WeAreManushyan - Equal Human Beings


✊ We stand in solidarity with Myanmar's women and applaud the courage of women leaders in the resistance.


➡️ Like & share this post to keep raising awareness about the dramatic human rights situation in Myanmar. The people of Myanmar need the world's attention as well as humanitarian help more than ever!


#InternationalWomensDay #InternationalWomensDay2022 #IWD #iwd2022 #SaveMyanmar #EqualRights #WomenRights #HumanRights #Women #Equality #GenderBias #feminism #HappyWomensDay #WomenEmpowerment #Empowerment #StrongWomen #GenderEquality #WomenSolidarity #WomenInBusiness #WomenInspiringWomen #DemocracyNow #Feminist #womenshistorymonth


References:


Bangkok Post, Women on the frontline of anti-junta resistance, 8 March 2022, available at:

https://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/2275455/women-on-the-frontline-of-anti-junta-resistance


DW, Myanmar women take the lead in resisting the military, available at:

https://www.dw.com/en/myanmar-women-take-the-lead-in-resisting-the-military/a-60620116


Open Democracy, ‘We’re unstoppable’: Meet the women leading Myanmar’s protest, 24 February 2021, available at:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/were-unstoppable-meet-the-women-leading-myanmars-protests/


 

Notes

[1] PDF, the People's Defence Force is the armed wing of the National Unity Government, which is widely accepted by the citizens to be the legitimate government of Myanmar.