Yesterday’s event was organized by the Mon Women Network (MWN), a local organization, working to promote female participation in “community level and political decision making.” Over 300 people, including representatives from a variety of civil society organizations (CSOs), converged on Pine Khit Hall in Myaingtharyar Ward, Mawlamyine Capital, Mon State.More than thirty organizations were represented, including Mon political parties as well as many ethnic Mon organizations – such as Mon Youth Progressive Organization (MYPO) and Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFORM).
“We want to celebrate female leaders and also push for more female leadership. Women should be part of the major decisions being made for the country and should be in positions of leadership in politics and national organizations. We also want to work with international women organizations to prevent violence against women,” said Mi Kon Chan Non, MWN’s vice-chairperson.
Many women in attendance wore traditional Mon clothing in the color of the Water Hyacinth, a symbol of facing life’s challenges with strength.
Mi Rot Chan, vice-chair of the MYPO said, “I see few women in positions of power in politics, but women are much better represented in CSOs and youth organizations. Female leadership will grow when these women gain experiences and, as importantly, realize that they can lead.”
Mon Women’s Day celebrations were [also] held across Mon State in townships and villages where the MWN is active.
The date of the annual celebration is said to be the birthday of the famous 15th century Mon Queen Shin Saw Pu on the 12th day of Tabaung month of Burmese/Mon [lunar] calendar. This year that date fell on March 9 of the Christian calendar, one day after women around the world celebrated International Women’s Day.