Tavoyan Women’s Union, Myanmar
P4P Medium Grant Recipient
Barriers to women’s participation in political and administrative levels in Tanintharyi Region
The Tavoyan Women’s Union (TWU) is a non-profit organization that was previously based in the Thai-Burma border town of Mae Sot with the aim of promoting a peaceful, justice, equality and liberated society in Burma, through capacity-building of young women activists. While vast strides have been made since 2011, TWU recognises that sustainability of women’s political participation at the national and sub-national level must be a priority in the democratization process. Understanding the barriers to women’s participation in leadership positions in politics is crucial to improving their participation. With support from the P4P programme, TWU is conducting qualitative research on this topic in the Tanintharyi region. By speaking to women who have undergone the process of elections, the research will gain valuable insight into the specific challenges that women face in pursuing leadership roles and, once there, the challenges presented in office. The aim of completing qualitative research in this area is to allow women leaders’ experiences to be shared. The interviews allow opportunities for women to recount their struggles and successes. This project will record and disseminate these stories both orally and visually through a photography exhibition.
Duration: August 2018 to July 2019
In preparation for their project, members of TWU have participated in two training workshops. In August 2018, they received three-day research training in social research theory, design and methods, facilitated by consultant Zin Ei Ei Win. The training allowed them to collectively revisit, and reflect on, their original research question and identify precisely the gaps in knowledge that their P4P Grant supported project will fill – specifically, the barriers facing women’s participation in politics, both as newcomers and incumbents.
In October 2018, the research team along with six volunteers participated in a second training session. This focused on enumeration skills, developing questionnaires and refining the team’s research interview skills.
Armed with such comprehensive training, the team are looking forward to embarking on data collection for their P4P project.
The Tavoyan Women’s Union (TWU) is a non-profit organization that was previously based in the Thai-Burma border town of Mae Sot with the aim of promoting a peaceful, justice, equality and liberated society in Burma, through capacity-building of young women activists. Although most of the members are of the Tavoyan ethnic group from the Tanintharyi region in southern Burma, the organization has reached out to women of all ethnic nationalities in the region, such as Karen, Mon and Bamar, as well as of diverse religions. Following political change in Burma, TWU returned to in 2012 to set up an office in Dawei, in the Tanintharyi Division, and began conducting part of its activities inside the country while still maintaining its head office in Mae Sot. In December 2015, all activities were transferred to Dawei, where TWU now works actively to promote women’s participation in society, improve safety and education for women, and pursue gender equality and women’s rights.
For more about their work see: https://tavoyanwomensunion.wordpress.com