Women: A driving force in transitional societies
6th of December 2014. We, the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society, were in Myanmar in order to organize for the second time a “Women’s Forum Myanmar” ; following the theme "Women: A driving force in transitional societies". Today is a historic day. On the 9th of November 2015, a party led by a woman (National League for Democracy, NLD) is about to win Myanmar’s 2015 general elections.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is this woman. Well known by our CEO Jacqueline Franjou and our team, she was by our sides from the beginning, when we were organizing our Women’s Forums in Myanmar.
Jacqueline Franjou, Women's Forum CEO, Closing Speech at Women's Forum Myanmar 2014:
"I concluded my opening remarks for this morning’s meetings with three words: Hope. Believe, and Act. I believe women can make the difference, to improve the economy and the society. And it is up to all of us to act – now – to make our hopes and our beliefs a reality. The Women’s Forum has come here to Myanmar because the powerful evolution of this society has been driven by the creativity and courage of women.
You are brave and skillful. You set up businesses. You create civil society organizations. You work selflessly and tirelessly for the greater good. Bravo.
We have learned so much from the women of Myanmar. We have learned about about creativity, about persistence, and about courage. I like to think the Women’s Forum has played a small part in this moment when Myanmar is opening to the ASEAN economic and cultural space and to the world.
[...] Thank you."
As a future important leader figure of Myanmar, we decided to re-transcribe the speech she had during her Keynote address at the Women’s Forum Myanmar, in 2014.
Here are her words:
“Transition is not just a matter of making new laws, or even of setting up new institutions. The greatest necessity of transition is a change in our mindsets, and that is the greatest difficulty of all. The transition is not a matter for the government, it’s a matter for our people. [...]
And we, the women, constitute half – more than half, 51 percent of our people here. We need more women involved in politics, but involved in the right way. We need to be in politics in order to make the changes that are necessary. It’s not a matter of how many ministers we have in the government, [...] It is a matter of how effective these women are, whether in government, whether in parliament, whether in business or whether in CSOs, NGOs and so on. How effective we can be depends on how fairly and how correctly we can judge the needs of our times, the needs of our country, the needs of our people. Let us think of women as a driving force in transition as a force for giving.
Burma is a country made up of different ethnic nationalities. Because of these differences it is particularly important for us to develop a sense of unity, the ability to accept that other people may be different from ourselves but that doesn’t necessarily make us better. Just because others are different it does not mean they are weaker or wore. It just means different.
There is gender discrimination in this country. It is taken for granted that, in many families, the boys will be given advantages that are denied to the girls. The sons are favoured quite often over daughters. This is where gender discrimination starts: in the home, in the family. If we want women to be the equal of men in this society, we must start by treating our daughters as the equals of our sons.
[My] goal is a society which will ensure peace and progress for our people, which will be able to give our people in perfect balance both freedom and security [..] that of deciding what to leave behind, what to take forward and how we are going to ensure that the legacy we leave for future generations is one that they will treasure, one that they will respect, and one they will remain in our history as an achievement for all time.”
Anticipation is building in Myanmar as more than 70% of voters have made their voice heard in favor of the NLD Party (Aung San Suu Kyi's Party).