WOMEN POLITICAL EMPOWERMENT
Goals and Objectives
- To increase women participation in Burma’s Politics by building capacity of women in political decision making processes and training young women to become political leaders
- To increase feminist politicians
- To raise awareness of women’s political participation in the society
- To encourage women to participate actively in the movement for democracy and gender equality
Women and Political Participation trainings including Emerging Leaders Political Empowerment School for young members of WLB members.
- Political Forum in the areas where the WLB members reside across the country.
- Consultation meetings with both the member organizations and non-member organizations to plan for the future activities of the program.
- Consultation with the political organizations in the Burma democracy movement and ethnic communities
In the history of Burma, women always participated actively in the struggles for freedom form colonial rule and dictatorship. Women and girls participated in the democracy movement in 1988 and died on the streets. Women never left behind for the armed struggles against the Burmese military regime. They either joined with the male counterpart actively in the jungle or support for the works. Women were the active campaigners for the 1990 general elections in Burma when the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi won.
Yet we hardly see women in the decision making levels in the overall opposition movement today. Several political parties and organizations have women members. But they are not encouraged and given opportunity to become the leaders in their own organizations. Many women organizations have been working to provide the service of health and education, fund raising and their priority was not for the women participation in politics. Therefore, the WLB has decided to focus this and started the Women’s Political Empowerment Program to encourage the women and girls to prepare as the future political leaders.
WLB’s Women’s Political Empowerment Program
Women’s League of Burma (WLB) has set up a program called Women’s Political Empowerment Program (PEP) in May 2006 with its decision made during the Presidium Board meeting in April.
Actually, the program’s activities already started before the WLB set up the PEP officially since it’s members signed the basic principles for the drafting of future democratic Federal Constitution by the Federal Constitution Drafting and Coordinating Committee (FCDCC) in February 2005.
The WLB delegated the Constitution Study Team to research the constitutions in different parts of the world and system to enhance the women’s political participation in their constitutions. The team had come up with the Gender Perspective paper after one year of its research. With that, the WLB was able to publish the “Constituting Our Right” and “Looking Through Gender Lenses”.
Since the Women’s League of Burma has negotiated and signed “the Basic Principles for a Future Federal Constitution of the Union of Burma”, the WLB was able to include the “Gender Equality” as one of the 8 principles. Since then, people in our movement started to talk about gender equality with both in positive and negative aspects.
After the series of dramatic debates for several months, we have achieved at least 30% quota for women in legislative power at federal level. It is included in the FCDCC’s draft constitution.
In the present days, people in our movement keep talking about gender equality and the principle of gender equality is not the day-two plan any more. No one can ignore women participation in any activities and plans of their programs and projects.
Some political organizations in the Burma democracy movement has started to include women in the decision making level of their organizations.
International community has started to become aware of the constitution drafting process in the exile democracy movement and the WLB’s effort to promote women participation in political processes.