Women’s health is conveniently regarded [to be] the same as maternal and child health. Various types of healthcare are necessary throughout the life cycle of women.
KII with SRH Specialist
Gender and Health in Myanmar
Women as Reproductive Beings and the Sex Taboo
KII with SRH Specialist
The value of virginity, and the sex taboo – ‘A good woman wears only one flower’
Key Informant Interview with Senior Woman Leader 3
KII with Information Official
The Lack of Sex Education and Information about Sex
The Virtue of Having Many Children & the Norm of the Sacrificing Mother
Menstruation as Dirty, Pregnancy and Child Birth as Shameful
Decision Making on Sexual & Reproductive Health
Pregnant women must keep focus on being gentle and tender, and not eating meat so their delivery will be uncomplicated. And they have to keep the Buddha’s teachings always in mind for their children to be beautiful and free of birth defects.
FGD with Bamar Buddhist women aged 18-25, Bogale Township
Steps to Transform Inequitable Norms in Health
- Conduct more research on women’s health needs, including but not limited to maternal and child health.
- Raise awareness among men and women of sexual and reproductive health and rights with a view to promoting acceptance of women’s decision-making over their own bodies.
- Conduct research in health care settings on how cultural assumptions influence the way men and women are approached (including what is asked of women and men, what is not asked and how it is asked).
- Advance policies which focus on women’s right to self-determination in matters concerning their bodies. Gender mainstreaming of community health plans and other policy documents is essential.
- Take advantage of the space created by HIV prevention activities to broaden awareness raising activities from a focus on disease control. Ensure sex education initiatives include sex, body image and integrity, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Make sure content is age and context appropriate.
- Create space for health care providers to discuss cultural norms and gender stereotypes that may influence how they engage with clients.
- Ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services are not limited based on marital status or other factors.
Take Action to Advance Gender Equality
- Challenge donors, policy makers, businesses, unions, and development organizations to commit to gender equality in a practical and meaningful way. Highlight the deep roots and far reaching impacts of gender inequality and advocate for the use of a gendered lens on all developmental issues.
- Re-frame gender equality from a ‘women’s issue’ to an issue of political advancement and democracy for all.
- Broaden the base in gender equality work from the circles of current activists, and engage men and women of different socioeconomic backgrounds, education levels, ethnicities, locations, sexualities and abilities.
- Begin discussions of gender inequality around tangible and specific issues in peoples’ lives. Look at the impact at both individual and collective levels.
- Work towards re-claiming and re-valuing cultural and religious texts that promote an attitude of questioning and exploration rather than blind following, and those that have to do with social responsibilities. Use cultural and religious frameworks to advance a gender equality agenda.
- Be aware of culturally accepted forms of address and interaction. Approach change through constructive dialogue rather than through confrontation.
- Be practical and issue based. Address the issue of ‘how to’ in the work towards mainstreaming gender.
- Equip yourself with up-to-date and reliable information about gender issues in different sectors, and be ready to provide concrete information in order to be taken seriously.
- Identify and target the ‘agents of change’ in a given situation, for example, people with gender awareness and inside knowledge of a particular field; power holders with a sympathetic ear; teachers, health care personnel; religious leaders; journalists; parents, children and friends.
- Reflect on the gendered aspects of norms that influence you in your own life and begin to make change happen there, not just in your professional role.
The Gender Equality Network is a diverse and inclusive network of Civil Society Organisations, INGOS, and technical resource persons working to facilitate the development and implementation of enabling systems, structures and practices for the advancement of women, gender equality, and the realisation of women’s rights in Myanmar. To find out more about GEN, please check out website, connect with us on Facebook, or email email@example.com.
Ideas, expectations, and rules based on gender play a major role in governing men and women’s behaviour and opportunities. However, in Myanmar, gender inequality has not historically been acknowledged as an issue of concern. Raising the Curtain: Cultural Norms, Social Practices, and Gender Equality in Myanmar, illustrates how social and cultural norms carry ideas about different roles and worth for men and women that impact their ability to live full and productive lives. The report examines historical narratives and contemporary cultural and religious views of women in Myanmar, and describes in detail stereotypes and perceptions of women across various sectors. The study is based on data gathered from 543 women and men in seven States and four Regions of Myanmar between September 2013 and May 2014.
This special interest brief highlights some of the key gender issues in health. Other special interest briefs in the series can be accessed from the menu in the top right. The Full Report and Summary Research Papers are available to download below.
The Gender Equality Network is a diverse and inclusive network of more than 100 civil society organisations, national and international Non-Government Organisations and Technical Resource Persons working to bring about gender equality and the fulfilment of women’s rights in Myanmar.
Download the Research Summary and Full Report
This site presents topic summaries of the Gender Equality Network’s report Raising the Curtain. Please click below to download the overall Report Summary or the Full Report. For slower internet connections, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a different format.Full Report Report Summary