Diakonia - People change the world
Both men and women were participating actively at the gender workshop. Photo: Annette U Wallqvist

Gender analysis can be a powerful tool in Myanmar

In Myanmar, violence against women is common and women's lives are often limited by traditional perceptions of gender roles. After more than 50 years of isolation people are eager to learn about how power structures can be broken. Diakonia recently held a workshop in Yangon, for partner organizations, on how to use gender analysis in their work.


"This is the first time I see a gender analysis and learn how to use it. But you can be sure it’s a tool I will use in the programs I work with", says May Shi Sho, program director at Karen Development Network, KDN.

May Shi Sho is one of about 30 people who came to Diakonia’s workshop on gender analysis and how the tool can ensure that development work has a better impact. Diakonia’s gender adviser Jenny Enarsson travelled from Sweden to hold the workshop.

"For Diakonia, it is important to have a gender perspective in all our work, because we believe in the equal worth and that everyone has the right to live a dignified life. We will only get there if both women and men have the same opportunities to make decisions over their own lives and bodies. Without gender equality there can be no human rights, no democracy and no peace", she says.

Partners were very active

Min NweNi is Diakonia's Country Manager in Myanmar, and she says that several of the partner organizations are interested in starting to use gender analysis in their own work.

"They appreciate learning a simple tool for using the gender analysis in all phases of the programs, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. We will also do gender analysis together with our partners", she says.

To involve more women is crucial

May Shi Sho’s organization KDN is working for sustainable peace and to strengthen the local community's knowledge about management, especially in rural areas. But she finds it easier to reach out to men since women often are prevented from participating in activities, not least because they have to take care of home and children.

"We must make it easier for women to get involved. For us it is crucial to involve more women and their perspective in this work. But we will also begin to look more on ethnicity. Otherwise, we are at risk of building an excluding society", she says.