Press Release

It’s time to invest in women and girls for a safer, more gender-equal Myanmar.

08 March 2024

As the world marks International Women’s Day, women across Myanmar continue to stand up for the rights and wellbeing of women and girls in all aspects of life. Amid challenging circumstances, women and women-led organizations play a leading role in working toward gender equality and providing lifesaving support to vulnerable and marginalized people. Yet their efforts are often under-recognized, and drastically underfunded. 

On this day, the United Nations (UN) in Myanmar honors and stands in solidarity with women and girls across Myanmar as they continue to demonstrate their leadership and participate in the destiny of their country. We also rally behind the 2024 UN theme for International Women’s Day – “Invest in women: Accelerate progress” – in calling for more investment to support Myanmar women and girls to live free from violence and have equal access to education and employment. 

Invest in women: Accelerate progress.

The COVID-19 pandemic, military takeover, and extreme weather events such as Cyclone Mocha, have left Myanmar facing an ongoing political, economic, humanitarian, and human rights crisis. The poverty rate has doubled since 2021, almost 13 million people are food insecure, and 2.6 million people are internally displaced.[1] Women, girls, people with disabilities and internally displaced people are among those most marginalized. They bear the greatest burden of poverty and insecurity because crisis perpetuates gender disparities and increases women’s and girl’s vulnerability to trafficking, gender-based violence (GBV) and forced early marriage. 

Gender equality and women's rights are fundamental to Myanmar’s path within the Sustainable Development Agenda. Yet quite the opposite is taking place. We are witnessing a backslide on gender equality and a regression in women’s and girl’s rights, including their right to education, employment and to live a life without violence.   

International Women’s Day is a time to bring renewed attention to the challenges facing women and girls in Myanmar. It is also a time to recognize and champion their bold and brave leadership and resilience. Women and women-led businesses and organizations in Myanmar have a long history of taking a leading role in spurring economic development, providing aid and services, and advocating for the respect of human rights and gender equality. 

They have continued this work despite the high costs they have incurred, including individual women leaders and women’s organizations finding themselves under-resourced, facing excessive workloads and burnout, and enduring threats and violence on and offline. 

With a staggering 9.7 million women and girls in humanitarian need in Myanmar,[2] women’s civil society organizations are critical to the response. They serve populations in need in remote and often hard to reach areas, relying on their knowledge and networks to localize and deliver aid efficiently and effectively. Yet only 0.68 per cent of Official Development Assistance in Myanmar goes to women’s rights organizations.[3] They need the urgent support of the international community, including from UN agencies, to access adaptive, flexible investment. 

The UN will stay and deliver for women and girls in Myanmar.

The UN and our resilient humanitarian partners – which includes a vast network of women-led organizations – reached at least 1.7 million women and girls with humanitarian assistance last year.[4] This included providing food assistance to 1.2 million women and girls and supporting more than 1 million women and girls with child protection, gender-based violence and mine protection services.[5] We also reached more than 570,000 women and girls with humanitarian Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) assistance,[6] helping them to better manage their health and hygiene, including during menstruation, pregnancy or breastfeeding. 

This International Women’s Day, the UN in Myanmar reaffirms our commitment to stay and deliver in Myanmar, to ensure more women and girls have a greater chance of finishing school, earning decent and sustainable livelihoods, exercising their right to choose if, and when, to have children, and living empowered lives free from violence. 

We echo the UN Secretary General’s words today highlighting that, “Women’s rights are a proven path to fair, peaceful, prosperous societies,” and his call for investment in, “programmes to end violence against women, and to drive women’s inclusion and leadership in economies, digital technologies, peacebuilding and climate action.”  

Because investing in women and girls not only enhances their rights – it creates long-term social and economic benefits for whole communities. 


[1]UN OCHA Myanmar Humanitarian Update No. 35, January 2024. Available online.

[2] Myanmar Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan 2024, UN OCHA, December 2023. Available online.

[3] OECD, 2021. Data available online

[4] 2023 Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan Year-End Dashboard. Available online

[5] 2023 Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan Year-End Dashboard. Available online.

[6] 2023 Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan Year-End Dashboard. Available online.


Alexandra Peard

Alexandra Peard

UN Women
Communications Specialist
Thein Zaw Win

Thein Zaw Win

Communications and Advocacy Analyst

UN entities involved in this initiative

UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations
United Nations Population Fund

Goals we are supporting through this initiative