An Arakanese women’s network organised a demonstration at 10am on Friday in front of Rangoon City Hall where protestors held placards demanding the removal of Articles 59(d) and 59(f) from the Burmese constitution.
Under Chapter III (Head of State), Article 59(d) dictates that any person running for the presidency or vice-presidency of Burma must “have a vision of politics, economics, public administration and military”.
As Burma’s military does not recruit women as soldiers, many activists across the country have derided the clause as sexist and unfair, as it prevents women from seeking such high positions within the government, they say.
“This clause is discriminatory,” said Mu Ya from Shan state. “They think that women should just stay home and do housework and take care of their children.”
Article 59(f) has been the source of much controversy since it was first introduced in 2008. It denies the right to run for the presidency or vice-presidency to anyone whose spouse or children are citizens of a foreign country. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi maintains that the clause was written specifically to deny her the right to lead the country; many of her supporters agree.
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) said last week that the party had prepared about 150 points or clauses that it would present as suggested amendments to the 2008 constitution.
The NLD claims that their opinion polls show that 99 percent of 20,000 Rangoon voters interviewed said they favoured amending the constitution.
Meanwhile, the NLD announced that Aung San Suu Kyi is preparing to visit Chin state next week.