Vice President U Henry Van Thio addressed the International Women’s Day ceremony held at the Myanmar International Convention Centre 2 in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday morning.
In his address Vice President said International Women’s Day came about due to the efforts of women workers after 146 women workers were killed in a factory fire in Russia on March 1911. More than a hundred years have passed when 8 March was observed worldwide as International Women’s Day and Myanmar being a member country of the UN held this State level event to reflect the importance of women in Myanmar.
The UN designated theme for International Women’s Day 2019 was “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change.” To achieve the sustainable development goal of achieving gender equality and empower all women and girls in 2030 it was required to develop new integrated approaches, thoughts and processes in addition to the present social protection systems, public services and work procedures and the theme was being setup to exhort UN member countries, said the Vice President.
Myanmar was a country that was transitioning to a democracy based on political transition, economic transition and establishing peace. As a country working for national reconciliation based on establishing peace, gender equality in all sectors was an important and basic matter. In the third session of 21st Century Panglong Conference an agreement was reached in the political sector basic principle agreement towards encouraging a minimum of 30 percent involvement of women in each sector.
Myanmar National Committee for Women’s Affairs was formed as a State-level mechanism to implement the nine targets set in sustainable development goal 5 of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls and to comply with the UN Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
For a balanced development of women in all sectors the National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women (2013-2022) was implemented based on 12 priority sectors. In order to implement the strategic plan with an increasing momentum during the remaining four years of the plan, four technical work groups on preventing and protecting women from violence; on women participating in the country’s economic sector; on women to be included in all sectors; and on women in peace and security were formed and works conducted.
Furthermore arrangements were made to review the National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women (2013-2022). To provide technical support in implementing the plan a Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) as Non Sector Coordination Group that would coordinate the Ten Sector Coordination Groups (SCGs) under the DACU (Development Assistance Coordination Unit). The group was urged to provide technical support and cooperate in the review works.
In conducting the review works new ways of coordinating and connecting with Sustainable Development Goals and Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) was to be observed. More emphasis must be placed towards women that made up more than half of the country’s population in implementing MSDP that was vital for the country’s development, said the Vice President.
According to surveys conducted for development of Myanmar women, effective implementation was still seen to be required in sectors like participation in economic, livelihood, education, health, public affairs, peace, security and violence against women. Innovative and new ways need to be sought out in those sectors in addition to the present ways and means utilized.
A Joint Communique to prevent and respond to conflict related sexual violence was signed on 7 December 2018 and plans were required to be setup to effectively implement the six priority sectors of the Joint Communique.
An economic forum of women entrepreneurs was held today in commemoration of 2019 International Women’s Day. Via that forum raising the capacity of women in economic and new ways and means of overcoming difficulties for gender equality in the economic sector would be realized.
The government was working from all side for the role of Myanmar women to increase step by step and for women to obtain their rights equally. It was with much happiness to see that UN organizations, non-government organizations, civil society organizations, social organizations, and technical experts on the subject were cooperating with the government on this and were urged to continue the cooperation.
In order to successfully implement the three aims of having rule of law and raising the people’s socio-economic life; national reconciliation and internal peace; and amending the Constitution that was the foundation stone of establishing a democracy federal union, both genders were to cooperate hand in hand and the power of the women representing more than half of the country’s population was to be used more. Innovative new ways were urged to be devised to maintain the progress and momentum achieved towards women’s development, said the Vice President.
Following this First Lady Daw Cho Cho, Vice President U Henry Van Thio, Union Minister Dr. Win Myat Aye, UNICEF representative Ms. June Kunugi and UN Women representative to Myanmar Mr. Nicolas Burniat cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the International Women’s Day exhibition and observed the exhibits together with ceremony attendees.
Later the second part of the ceremony was continued where Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Dr. Win Myat Aye explained about works conducted for women’s development that included opening of One Stop Women Support Centers in Yangon, Mandalay, Lashio and Mawlamyine for women victims of violence and raising economic opportunities for women that were only 41.8 percent of the total workforce of 20.91 million.
Afterwards UNICEF representative Ms. June Kunugi read the UN Secretary General’s message followed by screening of a video of Myanmar women business persons’ real life situation. Talks and discussion continued.— MNA (Translated by Zaw Min)