The Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) 1995
A Multi-Sectoral Response to Transform Inequitable Norms
- to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women;
- to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and
- ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.
Implications & Recommendations for Policy & Programming
- Engage male and female teachers in efforts to transform gender norms and stereotypes, and ensure gender awareness is included in teacher training in both formal and non-formal education.
- Ensure gender is mainstreamed in reforms of pre service teacher education, and in reforms of teaching methods and content in both higher education and basic education.
- Give in-service teachers and community teachers the chance to discuss and reflect on gender norms, including deeply held norms at a personal level, and provide practical tools that they can use at school, using a peer education format.
- Review all teaching and learning materials with a gender lens. Ensure future education materials do not reinforce stereotypical gender norms but address boys, girls, men and women as equally able to participate in all spheres of life, with equal opportunities.
- Ensure realistic opportunities for girls and boys to exercise different and non-stereotypical occupational/study choices.
- Challenge gender norms in non-formal education and vocational training by creating environments where everyone is able to choose according to interest or talent.
- Consider ‘supply’ and ‘demand’, so choice of vocations that challenge gender norms can be practically applied in the labour market.
- Bring together a broad range of stakeholders, including education practitioners, employers, policy makers and students, for constructive dialogue and programming aiming to challenge gender norms in occupational choices.
- Give teachers the chance to make a difference. With fewer tasks, more teachers, different training materials, sufficient time, and autonomy, teachers will be able to play a key role in shifting stereotypical gender norms. Budget for this endeavour, and appropriate training and instruction on how to achieve this one essential.
- Ensure that the development of education laws and policies address gender inequalities as called for in the Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR)
- Ensure the development of an overarching education law in line with the Government’s international and national commitments such as CEDAW, BPfA and NSPAW.
- Develop a comprehensive, inclusive, national education policy, so that all children, youths, adults in Myanmar are able to enjoy their rights to a quality education, regardless of gender, ethnicity, social or economic status, geographical location, religion, disability, or other attributes.
- Ensure that gender is mainstreamed in the development of specific education policies such as inclusive education; non-formal education; and language of instruction.
- As called for in the NSPAW, ensure that research and surveys are collecting data disaggregated by sex, age, ethnicity, and location.
- Engage civil society in a comprehensive review of educational materials with the intention of producing school materials that are free from gender bias.
- 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 the 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.
The National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women (NSPAW) 2013-2022
Economy & Work
- Ensure labour laws and policies include provisions of equal opportunities for employment (regardless of sex, gender identity, age or marital status) and equal wages. Provide sanctions for employers who do not live up to these standards.
- Improve workers’ rights and conditions in factory work, bearing in mind the largely young and female workforce, the unhealthy work conditions, safety at work concerns, and lack of security of employment.
- Strengthen the linkages and cooperation between labour unions and the women’s rights movement.
- Improve labour rights and standards for women in unregulated and secluded work environments such as karaoke bars and in domestic work.
- Expand childcare facilities to ensure women who carry out the majority of reproductive work are not structurally discriminated from participating in the labour market.
- Abolish practices that continue to reproduce the idea of women’s work as less valuable than men’s work, such as listing women as dependents on family registration cards.
- Review existing and proposed labour regulation. Policy makers, programmers, activists, unions should address structural issues that contribute to gender inequality, including norms that result in gendered separation of activities and unequal valuing of tasks.
- Provide gender training for journalists, editors and other media professionals. Avoiding stereotypes, victimization, and victim blaming of women are key issues that need to be addressed
- Raise awareness of the need for more visibility of women in media and more balanced representation of men and women in various capacities where women are currently underrepresented such as politics, and business.
- Explore the option of instituting an ombudsman function where sexist, misogynist representation of women in media can be tried.
- The health and social benefits of sports for women and men, girls and boys, should be celebrated and explored. Male as well as female gender champions and role models in sport at national and local levels should be identified and supported to encourage their friends, families, and broader communities to ensure equal participation for women and men, girls and boys, in community level sporting activities.
- The Ministry of Sports should seek to promote women’s involvement in all types of sports, and provide opportunities for athletic teams and training for women and girls.
- Media should continue to expand coverage of women in sports at local and national levels.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 within policy. 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 email@example.com to request a different format.