Myanmar Pre-Election Mission Finds Opportunities of Support

As a follow-up to an invitation from the Union Election Commission of Myanmar, a delegation of Gender Concerns International experts conducted a Pre-Election Needs Assessment Mission (PNAM) to Myanmar in May. The PNAM delegation assessed the needs and opportunities for launching a Gender Election Observation Mission (GEOM) to work directly with local women’s organisations to promote inclusive governance and female leadership.

Assessment mission meetings were held with various stakeholders from the international diplomatic community, the Union Election Commission, and women’s and civil society organisations. The PNAM revealed a lack of a gender-specific democracy programme, while there is recognition of a crucial need to support women’s electoral participation through a focused initiative such as the GEOM. Our unique election observation method deploys international and national teams to address women’s participation as voters, candidates and elected officials in periods of activity before, during and after elections.
The Myanmar government is indicating a willingness to engage with the international community in support of free and fair elections scheduled for Fall 2015. Gender Concerns is prepared to contribute to Myanmar’s electoral reforms and ensure women’s full inclusion in governance.
A Myanmar GEOM mission would review and document electoral procedures in order to help ensure women’s full inclusion in the democratic transformation process. GEOM recommendations would be provided through working with women’s organisations and government institutions including the Union Election Commission of Myanmar.
Steps to date in Myanmar’s developing democracy represent a key time to advocate for a just and gender-balanced society. Gender Concerns will soon issue its Pre-Election Needs Assessment Myanmar report, to detail the mission’s conclusions and recommendations.