All the distinguished guests attending International Women’s Day 2021 ceremony, I wish you all health and happiness and auspiciousness.
Women, who represent over 50 per cent of the global population, is the main force of the world’s countries. In 1975, the United Nations officially recognized 8 March as International Women’s Day in honour of the people of feminine gender.
When we look back our history, we will notice many heroines who took part in the independence struggle together with their male counterparts. Moreover, Myanmar women who were brilliant in various fields including political, economic, social, intellectual, academic and cultural fields emerged throughout the successive periods.
Women represent 52 per cent of our country’s population of about 54.9 million. The role of women in the multiple fields and sectors is further improving, and they are now serving the national defence and security duties as military personnel and police members, alongside men.
In this regard, global countries celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March every year in honour of the womenkind includng those of Myanmar of the world. Likewise, Myanmar celebrates the day on a national scale to reflect the important role of women.
The international community including Myanmar has left no stone unturned in striving from all angles in collectively solving the problems women are facing and improving their capacities.
Our country has set up the Myanmar National Committee for Women’s Affairs (MNCWA) and local committees at different levels in striving to enhance the role of women. The implementation of National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women (2013-2022), drafting the Prevention and Protection of Violence Against Women Bill, and the implementation of the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) and the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP) are providing better foundations for Myanmar women.
The additional programmes for national economic recovery such as the Myanmar Economic Recovery and Reform Plan (MERRP) for post-Covid-19 period will be implemented from the combined perspective of gender equality and women’s capacity building.
The UN adopted the theme “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” for International Women’s Day 2021. It is found that the endeavours of our country are within the scope of the theme.
Moreover, the theme has also spotlighted an important role of women including those of younger age in rehabilitating the multiple sectors that are facing deterioration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We will have to respect and acknowledge the values of families and human communities and societies, aside from recognizing the individual value of women of all ages to ensure true equality.
It is emphasized in the UN Charter that everyone regardless of gender or country shall enjoy fundamental human rights and equality. The political, economic, social and cultural rights of women are stipulated in the UN Convention of Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women approved by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 1979.
Moreover, the Fourth World Conference on Women held in 1995 in Beijing, China, approved the Beijing Declaration which covers 12 development sectors for women.
To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls is one of the 17 sustainable development goals and Myanmar is taking existing measures in combination with the goal.
As all of you know, world countries today are encountering the outbreak of COVID-19. In the face of the pandemic, Myanmar is taking measures to rehabilitate the various sectors affected by the pandemic. I am proud of and glad to see women participating in the revival efforts energetically and earnestly together with men and I would like to appreciate and praise them.
Meanwhile, the State is making efforts to protect and promote the rights of women of Myanmar in the various sectors as much as possible. I would like to request the public and organizations to cooperate in the various sectors.
In doing so, women will be able to play a greater role in building the Union based on genuine and disciplined democracy and federalism being implemented by the Tatmadaw and to contribute greatly to the development of the country.
In conclusion, I wish Myanmar women to be able to enhance their capacity by overcoming challenges and difficulties of today including the COVID-19 pandemic in the same way as they served the interests of the people and the country in successive eras as a major force in Myanmar society.
May all of you be women who achieve success in all sectors.