Bringing a Gender Perspective to the Peace Table: Women in Myanmar’s Peace Process
Ethnic division and inequality lie at the heart of Myanmar's internal conflicts. In these conflicts, ethnic women are the most vulnerable group based on their ethnicity and gender. They are not only victims of violence, they have also been systematically marginalized from formal peace processes under both military and civilian governments. This thesis uses a feminist constructivist approach to examine the gendered role of women and girls in Myanmar society and the impacts of armed conflicts on women and girls in the conflict areas. The thesis discusses the history of ethnic divisions in Myanmar since independence in 1948, various peace initiatives pursued by Myanmar governments and the experiences of women and girls during conflict and their involvement in the more recent peace-building process. Drawing on extensive interviews with officials, politicians and civil society representatives, the thesis argues that if a sustainable and just peace is to be built in Myanmar, women need to be given a greater role. It also identifies obstacles that need to be overcome if women are to participate effectively in both formal and informal peace processes.