Gender Equality Network (GEN)
The Gender Equality Network is a diverse and inclusive network of more than 100 civil society organisations, national and international NGOs and Technical Resource Persons working to bring about gender equality and the fulfilment of women's rights in Myanmar, through building the evidence-base in the new emerging context in Myanmar, advocacy in national, regional and international forums and innovations in communications, and through capacity building initiatives.
Their mission is to facilitate the transformation of norms, systems, structures and practices to enable gender equality and gender justice in Myanmar.
Their vision is Gender equality at all levels of Myanmar society; where all women are empowered, can fully realize their rights, are in positions where they can effectively lead, and are treated with dignity and respect.
Awareness of the importance of gender equality in governance enhanced and opportunities for women to effectively participate in governance in all sectors increased.
Awareness increased and support provided to stakeholders to implement effective evidence-based mechanisms and strategies to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
GEN is a dynamic and cohesive network of skilled and confident members who are able to work effectively for gender equality and gender justice.
The Overarching Objective:
Social Practices and Cultural Norms: Social practices and cultural norms favouring gender equality are articulated and reinforced, and strategies for responding to those that discriminate against women are identified and implemented.
What they do:
They bring together various organisations and individuals in Myanmar’s gender equality landscape to advocate for change.
Advocacy and Campaigns
Part of their strength is in their ability to bring together various organisations and individuals in Myanmar’s gender equality landscape to advocate for issues and gender equality causes. They form Working Groups to focus on particular campaign strategies and initiatives, which are determined by the membership and Steering Committee.
The Working Groups develop a strategy specific to the issue at hand – for instance, on specific legal reforms or strategies to engage men in the gender equality dialogue – and develop a tailored campaign designed to reach target groups, such as lawmakers and the general public. They aim to do this in a vibrant, public manner, to both raise awareness on issues of gender inequality and propose action to improve the gender equality situation in Myanmar.
They often link their campaigns to international campaigns, such as International Women’s Day (8 March) and 16 Days of Activism. In this way, they act as a conduit for a multitude of organisations and individuals to join global gender equality movements and raise awareness locally.
They are also demonstrating that GEN can play an influential role in the development of national policy and legal reform; for instance, through close collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare with regards to the development of the National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women 2013-2022, and the drafting of the Prevention (and Protection) of Violence Against Women Legislation. The network has emerged as an entity that is well placed to raise awareness; engage in strategic and evidence-based advocacy with duty bearers; and to provide technical support to a range of government and civil society actors.
They aim to develop the capacity of their Members to ensure that they are a dynamic and cohesive network of skilled and confident individuals and organisations who are able to work effectively for women’s rights and gender equality.
They do this through offering skill-building training and information-sharing sessions, both at their regular meetings and at standalone training events. In the past, these sessions have included sessions, workshops and short courses on:
- ‘Training of Trainers’
- Women and the economy
- Gender and Buddhism
- Legal workshops related to policy campaigns (e.g. POVAW)
- Research methods
- Psychosocial needs in interviewing
- Gender in Internally Displaced Persons camps (volunteer training)
To assist Members on an ongoing basis, the Coordination Unit shares information on a weekly basis with their Members, including publications, legislative developments, Member news and upcoming events, and offers a Local Resource Centre for Members to access at their office in Bahan Township. This Local Resource Centre is in the process of being made available online for easier access by their Members.
Part of their strength comes from their ability to offer broad networking opportunities and bring together different individuals and organisations from across the gender equality landscape. These networks are both informal and formal, and their Working Groups are an example of the concrete ways in which they bring people together to achieve social change.
Research and Publications
GEN holds that an integral part of the process of advocacy and change process is the collection of reliable and meaningful data, and this forms the basis of their research work. Through GEN’s Working Groups, they have brought together a range of subject experts, consultants and local actors to research key issues in Myanmar and form the basis for evidence-based advocacy. These publications range from briefing papers to brochures, to legal translations and full reports.
GEN recently completed its second large body of work, entitled Raising the Curtain, which explores Myanmar’s cultural norms and social practices in the context of gender equality.
Prior to this, their research piece entitled Behind the Silence focussed on the issue of gender-based violence (GBV) in Myanmar and explored both its prevalence and action to combat GBV.See more