DVB Debate: Should women lead?

In a country where one of the most well-known and respected political figures, Aung San Suu Kyi, wields great influence, many still regard a woman’s place to be in the home.

“Women are prepared to lead, but the Myanmar parliament is still not ready for female leadership at this time,” said MP Phyu Phyu Thin during the most recent discussion on DVB Debate.

This week panelists discussed whether there should be a greater representation of women in positions of power – in Burma’s parliament only 4 percent of MPs are female.

Cartoon by DVB Debate
Cartoon by DVB Debate

 On the panel were: National League for Democracy MP for Mingalar Taung township, Phyu Phyu Thin; activist and head of ethnic student affairs for the All Burma Federation of Students Unions, Nander Sint Aung; and Buddhist nun and monastery school founder, Kate Thar Ya.

“In our culture, there is a belief that women are only suppose to do chores at home and, as a woman, I think there is still some discrimination,” said Phyu Phyu Thin.

Activist Nandar Sint Aung however believed women have different biological make-ups and therefore should be treated differently.

“Men and women have different biology so women should not say ‘Oh we should get the same amount of pay as men’, because that is just copying the men,” he said.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), calls for more participation of women in the decision making process. They believe women should hold 30 percent of all important positions. This sparked disagreement in the studio, with some women’s activists claiming the percentage should be higher, while others said recruitment should be based on who is the most qualified, not gender.

“If a housewife is going to be trapped inside her house with chores, no matter how interested she is in politics, she is not going to get any information about what is going on in the country,” said Zin Mar Aung, founder of the Yangon School of Political Science.

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“Compared to a man, she has limited access to information.”

Next week DVB Debate discusses education reforms.

You can join the debate and watch the full programme in Burmese at www.dvbdebate.com

Or share your views with us by commenting on our website at www.dvb.no

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