Myanmar is now in democratic transition. Historically, women's participation in politics is weak in Myanmar. Since independence, a limited number of women have taken decision-making and leading roles. Military dominance in politics explains why Myanmar's politics are so heavily dominated by men. Gender stereotypes are culturally deeply embedded. The majority of the population, including women themselves, accepts these culturally dictated gender roles. According to the 2014 Myanmar census, women are over 51% of the population in Myanmar and over 52% of people who can work are women. However, about 50% of women in that group are unemployed.
As a training and research institute, Sandhi Governance Institute aims to understand the realities of women in the community, such as the current economic and social situations of young women, the relationships between education levels and social standards as well as economic opportunities in different areas of the country. In other words, Sandhi is exploring issues and opportunities for the empowerment of young women (between the ages of 18 to 35) who are potential leaders both in the political and the development sectors of the country. Thus, research on issues and opportunities for young women's empowerment was conducted by the training participants of Sandhi's women's leadership training for young women (from 18 to 35 years old) program. These participants come from political parties and civil society organizations and through this research they sought to understand how things are going with young women in their places of origin. In assessing the current situation, participants also looked for ways the young women in these communities can be empowered effectively, either by themselves or by local and international organizations as well as the government. This empowerment will contribute to the economic development of Myanmar in the country's transition to democracy. It is expected that this report, which reviews the findings on the current situations of young women in Myanmar and offers recommendations for how to empower them, can be instrumental for policy makers as well as international and local organizations that are interested in providing effective and substantive support to empower young women in Myanmar.
Sandhi Governance Institute was founded by two public policy graduates in 2007 and it was registered as private consultancy firm in 2008. Since that time, it has been conducting various development, governance, public policy and political trainings. In addition, it also carries out research on youth and employment opportunities, political parties and civil society.