Cherry Soe (JCSDO)
Director of Women’s Empowerment Program, Jeepyah Civil Society Development Organization (JCSDO)
P4P Small Grant Recipient
Women’s Involvement in Politics in the Mon, Kayin and Thanintharyi Parliaments: Barriers to improving representation and strengthening democracy
This project seeks to uncover some of the barriers to participation that face women, particularly ethnic minority women in Mon, Kayin and Tanintharyi parliaments. JCSDO will interview both male and female parliamentarians, but with a special focus on women – the stories of their journey towards becoming political leaders; and the kinds of policy changes they would like to see implemented in order to increase the participation of women from ethnic minorities in political processes. Overall, the project aims to highlight – and provide a comparative analysis of – the barriers and opportunities that exist around women’s meaningful engagement with regional politics in Myanmar, and to reflect on these phenomena at a national level. The findings will be brought together into a written report which will also include a series of illustrations that give a visual representation of the complex relationship between politics and women.
As part of the project artist Min Ar Kar Tet illustrates the reality women face when trying to enter politics.
Duration: June 2018 – December 2018
Cherry Soe discusses the P4P Grant project she is leading on behalf of JCSDO, the critical contribution that empowering women’s representation will make to deepening democracy in Mon State in Myanmar, and the process of her application for a P4P Grant.
JCSDO believes that in order to deepen democracy in Mon State requires strengthened community capacity-building, and for this the empowerment of women is vital: “women [must be] represented in all levels of political, policy and legal decision-making, from village to national level, with women experts in all sectors.” The question of how best to advance women’s political representation is one which current women leaders can help address. Cherry Soe therefore recently spoke to Daw Tin Ei, Speaker of Mon State Hluttaw as part of her P4P Grant Research Project, to discuss the trajectory of her political career and how other women might follow in her footsteps.
About Cherry Soe
Cherry Soe is an experienced researcher and longtime advocate for increasing women’s presence in politics. Along with being on the management team of JCSDO and the Director of the WEP, she is on the steering committee of the Alliance for Gender Inclusion in the Peace Process, and a steering committee in the Mon Women Network.
JCSDO has its roots in the Mon CSO community. Established as the Jeepyah Education Services (JES) in 2010 by members of the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM), it has since diversified its activities to include human rights documentation, child rights, and civic education of women. The name of the organization was changed from JES to JCSDO to better reflect these diverse activities, and the organization was officially registered under JCSDO in 2017.