Myanmar is going through major changes in its political system. Indeed, first general elections since decades of military system have been organised in 2010. Since then, the country is experiencing a kind of “disciplined democracy”, also called “indirect military rule”. In that sense, the 2008 Constitution states that a quarter of parliamentary seats are still automatically allocated to the “male-dominated military”. Nonetheless, civil society in Myanmar seems to expand and to play an increasing role. This “doorway to a possible democratic transition” raises the questions how power is structured and whether it tends to give more equitable voice to the different actors of the society. One possible impact of this change of system is that more channels of representation are given to under-represented groups of the population, such as women in the civil society for example.
The aim of my research is to study how feminist associations based in Yangon are organized and what their activities and main themes are. I would like to know whether the 2011 elections did or did not change the orientation of their activities. Feminist associations are understood here as all civilian initiatives with the objective to fight for women’s rights, interests and empowerment.
Through the research I plan to answer several questions such as:
- How does the reconfiguration of regime of authority influence feminist organizations?
- How do feminist organizations in Yangon navigate ongoing political transformations?
- How do feminist organizations based in Yangon manage to make their claims heard?
There are four main themes of research, which are:
- Political situation (potential democratization process),
- Civil society,
- Cultural, religious and legal representations of gender,
- Media, the Internet and freedom of speech.
The main method I would use to answer my research questions are semi-structured interviews with:
- Feminist organizations based in Yangon,
- Researchers specialized on related topics,
- Governmental bodies such as Myanmar National Working Committee for Women’s Affairs.
Why is this project Important?
Civil society represents a key place for women to express their will and make their voices heard. That is why it is crucial to study and document this aspect of contemporary Myanmar. Furthermore, this topic has not been deeply studied yet. For this reason, it is an interesting and relevant research topic.
Thanks to different interviews and surveys, this research will allow to paint the portrait of feminist civil society actors in Yangon and to raise awareness of what their struggles are in such a complex political context.
The funds raised from this campaign will be put towards travel and sustenance costs for the trip as well as some budget to offer people I interview some food and a drink. The goal is £800.
Budget for interviewees: £100
I will be doing this research alone. I am currently doing a part time Master in Development and Environment at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland). In parallel, I work as an administrative employee in the training department of the Swiss Refugee Council. I oversee the organisation of the logistic aspects of the educational programme displayed by this NGO in the French speaking-part of the country. Through this research, I would be glad to contribute to create an overview of how civil society succeeds in working in a complex political environment as well as how women tend to organize themselves in order to make their voices heard.
To thank you for your support
Here are the different contributions that will be provided for your support:
Pledge £5 – Thank you so much for your support! I will send you an update of my findings when the study is completed.
Pledge £10 – Thank you so much for your support! Backers at this level will receive a thank you postcard with a picture of the project plus an update when the study is completed.
Pledge £50 – Thank you so much for your support! Backers at this level will a receive a short report on how the research is going in April 2020 plus the above.
Pledge £100 – Thank you so much for your support! Backers at this level will a receive a mention of their name in my paper plus the above
Pledge £500 – Thank you so much for your support! Backers at this level can book a one hour video call with me to ask questions about the research plus the above. This can be organised while I am on the trip or when I return.
Undertaking such a research implies different costs so I thank you very much for your help!