Gender Concerns International advocates proportional representation of ethnic and cultural minorities into Dutch political and policy making structures. We believe that the progressive integration of minorities into national and international representative bodies is the key for social harmony and societal balance.
Myanmar contains (officially) 135 major ethnic groups and seven ethnic minority states, in addition to seven divisions populated mainly by the Burmese majority (also known as Bamar). More than 100 languages are spoken in Burma. Minority ethnic communities are estimated to make up at least one-third of the country’s total population and to inhabit half the land area. The main ethnic groups living in the seven ethnic minority states of Burma are the Karen, Shan, Mon, Chin, Kachin, Rakhine and Karenni. Other main groups include the Nagas, who live in north Burma and are estimated to number more than 100,000, constituting another complex family of Tibetan-Burmese language subgroups. Other ethnic groups with significant numbers include Pa-O, Wa, Kokang, Palaung, Akha, and Lahu.
Gender Concerns International has been interacting with various women’s and human rights organisations and networks in Myanmar. Focal points in this endeavor include: Coordinating with women minorities to provide them with necessary resources; helping build their capacity as women leaders in Myanmar; and strengthening their positions to allow them to actively lobby and engage with Myanmar’s national institutions for the democratic inclusion of women in Myanmar’s ongoing political transition.