Welcome to the March 2020 Edition of the GEN Monthly Newsletter. This is now a difficult time for all of us due to Covid- 19 disease and everyone is encouraged to stay home. Best wishes from GEN and we hope you all are staying strong and healthy.

We always request a GEN member, friend or staff to provide some insight into their participation with GEN. This month, we request Christian Aid which is an active INGO GEN member to share their feelings and experience with GEN.

Greetings from Gender Equality Network!

I wish this season will bring health, peace and joy to you all. I believe most of us have had quite a busy start of the year 2020. We all have those moments of ups and downs in our lives, but the ability to bounce back keeps us going and lets us grow into more resilient people. Some were able to build their resilience with the support of enabling environments. Others did not have the same opportunities.

Gender Equality Network creates enabling environments for all people of any gender identity. We advocate for laws that will promote and protect gender equality. And we raise awareness on gender equality within the general public, encouraging people to accept gender diversity and reduce discrimination. All this is done through joint effort from our members, each with their different background, making it more holistic and strong. GEN is valuable platform for all members, creating a safe space to raise concerns about gender inequalities.

Addressing LGBTI rights has been an important focus of the network. LGBTI are often discriminated for their gender identity, pushed to the margins of society. The effects of this discriminations often cast them away from their ordinary lives and even put their lives at risk. In collaboration with the LGBTI rights network, we consulted LGBTI organizations all over Myanmar to discuss the laws and conditions that pose these communities at risk. These consultations pointed out that the current definition of Penal Code 377 discriminates against LGBTQ people and puts them at risk. Subsequently, a policy brief was written and an advocacy strategy was developed to amend the penal code 377. The issue was then discussed with parliamentarians in Nay Pyi Taw, which will be followed up in the future. This issue will also be raised among the general public to get support for further movement towards the law amendment.

GEN would like to ask for your support in moving this process forward to a successful conclusion, bringing the Myanmar society at peace with gender diversity. Watch this space to engage with this issue.

GEN’s Highlights

On 4th February 2020, Domestic Worker Working Group meeting was held at the Gender Resource Center with 13 participants. The working group was established since 2018 initiated by International Labor Organization with the participation of 7 local organizations. The working group held the meeting regularly since established and had done research, legal analysis, and advocacy workshops. This working Group meeting was held to update the progress on the meeting with the Local and Foreign labor Affairs Committee. Working Group was able to develop a work plan and timeline for the coming six months.

Gender Equality Network and DCA NCA organized the Refresher Social Accountability and Good Governance workshop from 5th to 7th February 2020 at Cartel Hotel in Myitkyina. Township Development Committee from Myitkyina, Waimaw, Moegaung and Mohnyin; General Administration Department and Department of Social Welfare; and (15) CSOs from Bahmaw, Myitkyina, Waimaw, Moegaung and Mohnyin attended and there were (48) participants in total. On the first day, governance responsibility work plan which was developed at the previous SAG workshop is analyzed from the governance perspective and the current work plan which is being implemented is revised from gender perspective and on the second day, National-level NSPAW, MNCW, CEDAW and TWGs, MSDP were presented and regional governance system was demonstrated and analyzed from gender perspective. On the third day, advantages, disadvantages and needs of changing the governance management pattern were presented and attended CSOs practiced demonstration. During the workshop, CSOs and government departments shared and discussed the difficulties with each other. (EU)

Gender inclusion policy Dialogue workshop of Empowered Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities Promoting Gender Equality in Myanmar project was held on 20th February 2020 at Hotel Mandalay. Members of Parliament of the division, representatives from the General Administration Department, Department of Social Welfare, and CSOs attended the workshop. The opening speech was delivered by Dr Kyaw Soe, the Mandalay Region Parliament Speaker and Project Manager of the Gender Equality Network, Dr Htet Wai Oo shared about the project. Next, Policy Dialogue Coordinator, Ma Mai Thida Aye Kyaw, explained the purpose of the event and the event was continued. This workshop aims to present the discussions of the CSOs on achieving gender equality in Mandalay division to the MPs and local authorities and request cooperation. There were 36 participants (F 20, M 14, 2 O) and this workshop was supported by the European Union. (EU)

Gender Equality Network participated in the International Women’s Day campaigns organized by GBV working group, Farmer's Organization Mohnyin and Myikyina Township Leadership Group on 6th, 7th and 8th March 2020 in Myitkyina. GEN distributed the IEC materials at the International Women’s Day (LIFT). Sticker Campaign organized by GBV working group at the University of Myitkyina, Train Station, Car Station, Market and Airport. (LIFT)

Gender inclusion policy dialogue workshop of Empowered Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities Promoting Gender Equality in Myanmar project was held on 12th and 13th March 2020 at Cherry Queen Hotel in Taunggyi. Members of Parliament, General Administration Department, Department of Social Welfare and CSOs attended the workshop. This workshop aims to present the discussions of the CSOs on achieving gender equality in Shan State to the MPs, local authorities and discuss the ways to cooperate. The opening speech was delivered by Dr. Okkar Shein (Head of Program) from Gender Equality Network and Policy Dialogue Coordinator, Ma Mai Thida Aye Kyaw, explained the purpose of the event.There were 47 participants (F 24, M 21, 2 O) and this workshop was supported by the European Union. (EU)

Gender Equality Network initiated Covid-19 and Gender Talk Show program on 28 March 2020 through Mizzima Media. Talk show program mainly discussed how Covid-19 disease impacts on the lives of women and men differently in Health and livelihood areas in Myanmar. Dr. Phyo Thiha (Author/ Reproductive Health Specialist) discussed how female medical service provider is facing challenges in professional and personal lives. Ma Phyo Sandar Soe (General Secretary, CTUM) mainly discussed how Covid-19 disease impacts the labor market, the challenges of female laborers and how female laborers came to lack of services especially GVB service these days. Daw Nwe Zin Win (Co-chair of GEN) discussed from the perspective of gender on health and livelihood issues. Finally, each panelist gave recommendations to individuals, communities, and policymakers to overcome the challenges. Mizzima media will broadcast on Mizzima TV program tomorrow on 1st April 2020.


Members’ Highlight

Ahead of World Water Day 2020, WaterAid Myanmar hosted a round table dialogue bringing together experts from various field to discuss what need to be done to prepare the country for the impact of climate change on its water supplies. The dialogue was take place at Sule Shangri-La on March 17 in partnership with The Myanmar Times and attended by  representatives of national level committees, UN agencies, local and international organisations, social organisations and the private sector. World Water Day has been celebrated annually on March 22 since 1993. This year, experts highlighted how to better use water resources, how climate change affects water supplies and how this in turn puts an additional burden on women.  

Meetings and Workshops Attended by GEN’s Representatives

Director of Gender Equality Network, Daw May Sabe Phyu represented GEN and joined the CSOs Learning Forum which was held in Bagan from 27 to 28 February 2020.


Director of Gender Equality Network, Daw May Sabe Phyu, represented GEN at the International Girls in ICT Day event organized on 2nd February 2020 at the Yangon University of Education and participated as a panelist in the panel discussion to empower girls and women’s participation in the ICT sector of Myanmar. Thanks to the organizer team of the Yangon University of Education for this kind invitation.

“To Our Lives We Want” campaign opening ceremony which introduces the “My Life I don’t want” animated short film by Director Nyan Kyal Say was held on 6th March at JCGV Kantharyar. Director of GEN-CU, Daw May Sabe Phyu, delivered the opening speech at the event and explained why GEN gets involved in the campaign. GEN will take the leading position in managing and contributing the funding from the campaign to the organizations working towards women’s rights in Myanmar. (LIFT)


On 15 March, GEN Advisor participated as a resource person at the “Active Citizens” event at Lotte Hotel, Yangon, organized by the British Council. It was participated by about 150 active citizen members trained through their social leadership programme. The Advisor facilitated a session on “Gender and Active Citizens”. 

Director of GEN represented GEn and joined as panelist at Myanmar Digital Rights Forum (Women’s Rights Online: Silencing Women in the name of Religion) at Rose Garden Hotel organized by Phandeeyar, MIDO and Engage Media on 29th February 2020.


GEN’s Director attended an Informal meeting with Bill Committee of Amyothar Hluttaw in Nay Pyi Taw organized by NDI on 4th March 2020 as a GEN representative. GEN’s Director involved in the discussion on recommendations on draft PoVAW law.


On 7 March 2020, GEN Director represented GEN and attended the Launching Ceremony of "Women Lead" and it was hosted by Embassy of United States of America at Park Royal Hotel.


Daw May Sabe Phyu, Director of Gender Equality Network attended IWD event at Inya Lake Hotel organized by WON & WIN Peace on 8th March 2020 as a representative of GEN network.


Daw May Sabe Phyu, Director of Gender Equality Network represented GEN and attended IWD event at Gothe Institute organized by UN Women on 9th March 2020. GEN is co-organizer of the event.

On 16 March 2020, Daw May Sabe Phyu, Director of Gender Equality Network joined as a chair of AGIPP (Alliance for Gender Inclusion in the Peace Process) at the informal meeting for "gender equality and inclusion of women, peace and security perspectives in the peace process and political dialogues" which is organized by Alliance for Gender Inclusion in the Peace Process (AGIPP) at Western Park Royal Restaurant, Yangon.


At March 24, GEN Director led "All Staff Meeting" which placed at GEN Office. The meeting included Covid-19 disease spreading, protection plan of GEN to all staff, schedule plan for April month and two-ways discussion.


Director of Gender Equality Network, Daw May Sabe Phyu joined meeting with LIFT Fund Board & Strategic Partners online on 25th March 2020 as a GEN representative.

Director of Gender Equality Network, Daw May Sabe Phyu represented GEN and joined a zoom meeting with Minister of MSWRR together with MNCW members on the 31 March over 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Photo from www.moi.gov.mm.