President U Thein Sein delivers speech at Global Women’s Forum

President U Thein Sein poses for documentary photo with participants at Global Women’s Forum 2014.
President U Thein Sein poses for documentary photo with participants at Global Women’s Forum 2014.

President U Thein Sein delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of Global Women’s Forum 2014 at Myanmar International Convention Cenntre-2 in Nay Pyi Taw on Friday.
In his speech, the president said he was proud of holding the forum for the second consecutive time in Myanmar after organizing the first one from 6 to 7 December in 2013, pointing out that women represent 49 percent of the global population while 51 percent of Myanmar’s population is women.
Then, the president added that the preamble of the United Nations Charter calls for the faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of a human person and the equal rights of men and women and the third of the eight Millennium Development Goals to promote gender equality and empower women calls for the achievement and full enjoyment of women’s rights.
The president went on to say that one of the proposed priority areas to tackle during Myanmar’s tenure as the 2014 ASEAN Chair included enhancement of efforts to empower women and children in the society and the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration (2013) also calls for enhanced participation of women in the ASEAN Security, Economic and Socio-cultural Community building processes as well as prioritizing the efforts to the overall development of women and children in the region.
The president pointed out that Myanmar history also testifies to the extent to which women have led and contributed to the society and it is filled with women leaders, artists and literary giants before saying the sacrifice, innovation and leadership of women in world history have been  instrumental in bring about beneficial and lasting changes to societies at large.
Then, the president explained that Myanmar is currently carrying out simultaneous political and economic reforms in order to stand as a democratic country and issues like gender equality play an important role and fundamental role in national reconciliation based on peace, saying that the government will have to enhance participation of women in the political sphere and to make sure that all the women have equal opportunity to shape their lives and enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights in a meaningful way.
The highlighted that the critical role of women in a transitional country like Myanmar and said that women are taking up leadership roles in Myanmar politics by serving as ministers, deputy ministers and advisors who are at the forefront of the union level reforms while women in the Pyithu Hluttaw and the Amyotha Hluttaw are actively engaging in their law making responsibilities by leading the efforts to change laws so that they better reflect the conditions and the needs of today.
Whenever, the government forms advisory committees to provide policy input in the political, economic and social sectors, it takes into consideration the inclusion and participation of women in these committees in order to be able to carry out the reforms more effectively because of the wider and meaningful participation of women, according to the president.
The president continued that the government is on right path towards putting into practice the goal of this year’s forum- for women to be a driving force in transitional societies and the Myanmar National Committee for Women’s Affairs was formed on 3 July 1996 which is currently chaired by the Union Minister for the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.
Then, the president said that Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation and the Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association were also formed to prevent violence against women, alleviate poverty, increase livelihoods for women and empower women by working cooperatively with local and international partners to implement programs that will enhance socio-economic conditions for women.
To help improve the social security and raise the standard of living for women, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement has also formed the Department of Social Welfare to provide welfare services  in eight different areas of social need, the president added before saying that a gender department was recently established to tackle issues on gender equality and that the role of civil society organizations is extremely important to prevent violence against women, enhance greater participation of women in the peace process and to ensure equal rights and opportunities for women in the political, economic and social realms.
The government takes recommendations from and works cooperatively with the civil society organizations on women’s affairs and gender equality issues, the president pointed out before saying that the government will safeguard and protect the rights of women specifically contained in sections 350,351 and 352 of the state constitution.
In conclusion, the president expressed his hope for constructive recommendations from the discussions at the forum.
Afterwards, CEO of Socioeconomic Forum for Women Ms Jacqueline Franjou made a speech.
After the opening ceremony, President U Thein Sein and wife Daw Khin Khin Win posed for a documentary photo with the participants.

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