The Yangon women's festival starts today, AMA about it!

Under a year ago i moved to Burma to create solutions for some of the problems that the country faces. One of these problems is the lack of support for women in health, education, business, arts, anti-violence against women campaigns and so on. Burma has a lot to do to create a more equal society for women, who are the largest part of it.
There is a history of resistance towards creating real progress for women here so we started this festival to celebrate what women achieve in the most public way we could. We are offering workshops, events, radio and tv coverage, seminars and art events to raise awareness and help make a positive change.

AMA about Burma/Myanmar, or the situation here for women.

And if you want to learn more about the event you can check out our website, Facebook and Indiegogo through the links below.

Comments: 30 • Responses: 6  • Date: 

bhrothgar6 karma

Hello. Are girls given the same education as boys there?

ibelieveinwomen10 karma

Yes and they are encouraged to, there is no favouritism. Education itself is not distinguished by gender. Things tend to change when they get married and have babies, then they are expected to give up their career or education for their family.

ProudMtns5 karma

Hi there. I spent a month motorbiking around burma, and ive been fascinated by it ever since. How did you get your job? I feel most jobs there open to westerners currently are predominantly ngo related. If i wanted to move there, what resources should i be looking into? Burma/ myanmar is one of the most beautiful/hospitable/intriguing places ive ever been...

ibelieveinwomen5 karma

Hi there. It's a beautiful place to travel by bike and yes , the people are some of the most hospitable and beautiful i have ever met too.

I would say, do what you believe in. Help people make a difference, you don't need an NGO to make a difference you just need to find people with the same passion and drive to make an impact. Ask your self ; Who you want to help?, Why do you want to do it ? What differences you want to make? When you have those answers, surround yourself with the people who want the same thing. Maybe they are an organisation, maybe it's a friend or maybe you have to go out and find them but you will find them, they are out there.

For me, I want to be part of the drive towards a world with real equality. I would like to live in a world where that exists and i'm happy to be actively involved in making it happen.

TopCuntMate3 karma

Online it says, Child soldiers have and continue to play a major part in the Burmese Army as well as Burmese rebel movements. The Independent reported in June 2012 that "Children are being sold as conscripts into the Burmese military for as little as $40 and a bag of rice or a can of petrol." how do you feel about this and is it true?

ibelieveinwomen14 karma

Unicefs official line is "war is no place for children". We don't know how any children and young people are being recruited because there are no statistics. The central government recognizes this is illegal (there is law stating under 17 cannot join even with parental consent), however regionally, children and young people are being actively recruited. Sometimes not just as soldiers, but as cooks, cleaners and porters

Brilliantly, there has been some fantastic work done by the UN and the government to end the use of child soldiers in the Army. In 2012 the government signed a treaty to release all soldiers from the army under the age of 18. Last year over 400 were released.

However, there are many armed conflicts in Myanmar and this agreement does not extend beyond the Tatmadaw - it would be great to see it implemented across all armed groups.

Mburton902 karma

What kind of support do you get from the government in your mission? How do you think is the best way to start changing attitudes: slowly through education sweeping legislation?

ibelieveinwomen7 karma

To answer your question further; there is also a need for more women to be involved in the decision making. In 2014 women held less than 5% of positions in the parliament. This is at odds with their active positions in helping to lead society. It's amazing to see how women here take the roles which only men do in many other countries; they build roads, farm crops, run shops, are doctors, professors and scholars, and yet they are underrepresented and have a questionable influence in parliament.

ibelieveinwomen4 karma

Hi there.

Currently we don't get any support from the Government. They haven't approached us and we haven't approached them. The government can become the organisation with the most radical and positive program for change but to make those changes they are going to have to listen more to the many experts which are available and working within the field of Women's rights in Myanmar. We wanted to launch our festival without restrictions on what we say or do and make an example of what can be done, so we engaged with partners who fully support our ideas.

I support the positive changes that the Myanmar government makes but occasionally they make some questionable choices. For example, their latest bill limits child birth to one child every three years per mother. Shouldn't a women be in control of when she has her children?

PythonEnergy-18 karma

Where do you come off thinking that you can just move to Burma and "solve" their problems?

How did you know that lack of support for women is a problem in Burma?

Why does Burma need to be a more equal society for women? Why can't it remain a sexist Burmese society, if that is what it is?

Can you speak Burmese "fluently/perfectly"?

If you are so concerned about women's rights, why don't you work for them in the US (or wherever you are from) where they are desperately needed?

ibelieveinwomen8 karma

Hi there. Thanks for your enthusiasm!

If you are really interested in learning the answers to your questions then here are some expert sources.
The "Gender Equality Network Myanmar" The websites of Oxfam, Action Aid or also contain a wealth of information about the problems Myanmar faces.