Women’s group marks anniversary with commitment to improve rural lives

By SU MYAT MON | FRONTIER

YANGON — Around 250 women from remote areas of the country gathered in the commercial capital Sunday to mark the second anniversary of May Doe Kabar, a group working to empower rural women in Myanmar.

Coinciding with International Rural Women’s Day, the day’s speakers dwelled on the myriad issues facing women outside Myanmar’s urban centres, including a lack of opportunities and endemic gender-based violence.

“I myself as a rural woman see gender-based violence in the community and I can’t bear the situation,” said Daw Cho Aye, May Doe Kabar’s chairwoman. “Even some of the women themselves who face it do not want to talk about it … women in rural areas believe gender-based violence is a cultural norm in their community.”

May Doe Kabar recently completed a survey of 2,800 women in rural areas who discussed their experiences as survivors of gender-based violence. The results will be sent to the Union government.

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Around 250 rural women geared up to their second convention of May Doe Kabar in Yangon on Sunday which was also marked as the international rural women’s day.

Cho Aye said it was crucial for rural women to be given knowledge about Myanmar’s legal system and access to family and healthcare services to reduce the scourge of violence against women.

Founded in 2015 with the support of the United Nations Development Programme, May Doe Kabar draws on a network of 20,000 rural women from 31 townships in eight states and regions across Myanmar.

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