Election 2020

Proportion of Women in Myanmar’s Legislatures Rises Following Nov. 8 Election

By Zue Zue 19 November 2020

YANGON—The proportion of lawmakers elected to the national and subnational legislatures who are women increased in Myanmar’s Nov. 8 general election compared to the 2015 poll, the Union Election Commission (UEC)’s election results show.

Women accounted for 17 percent of lawmakers and ethnic affairs ministers elected to the Union and regional parliaments this year, according to local civil society organization Phan Tee Eain (Creative Home).

Of 1,117 seats, women won 194—25 in the Upper House, 53 in the Lower House and 116 in the state and regional parliaments—an increase of 4 percent from 2015, Phan Tee Eain director Daw Khin Lay Nge told The Irrawaddy.

In the 2015 general election, women secured 152 of 1,150 seats up for grabs.

“It is good to see qualified women entering the parliaments, slowly and steadily. But I wish the rate were faster. Because it is just a 4-percent increase after five years. Nonetheless, I welcome it and am satisfied that the number increased, and did not drop,” Daw Khin Lay Nge said.

According to Phan Tee Eain, not only has there been an increase in the number of women elected, but those women also tend to be younger and more educated than in the past.

Daw Khin Lay Nge said she expected the incoming crop of female lawmakers to be hard workers, as dozens of them are from civil society organizations and activists in their respective regions.

According to data from Election & Democracy, an organization publishing electoral data, the proportion of women elected to state/regional parliaments this year was 18 percent, an increase of 6 percentage points from the 2015 poll.

There will also be women lawmakers in the Kayah State parliament for the first time since 2010.

However, Myanmar still has the lowest proportion of female lawmakers in ASEAN.

In Myanmar, women account for 51 percent of the national population; 19 million of the 37 million people who were eligible to vote in the 2020 general election were women.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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