For the first time, the Yangon City Development Committee Election of March 2019 was held under universal suffrage. In this election, out of the 233 candidates running for election 44 were women. From the 79 township committee members elected in these historic elections, 26 are women who are now working to serve their communities across the city.
As strengthening women in local government contributes to the equal participation of women at all levels of policy making, the EU funded STEP Democracy programme continues its support to the development of skills, knowledge and networks of these elected female officials on a long-term basis. One such way of continuing this support is through targeted trainings for women councilors such as that held on 2-4 November. Here, participants came together to increase their knowledge on the YCDC law and its budget as well as building their skills on public outreach and moderation.
“This event gave me so much strength. I am quite new to this field and have limited knowledge on laws and procedures. After these three days however, I feel confident that I can do my job more effectively as elected official,” one women municipal committee member mentioned.
According to our survey results, it showed that women municipal members need public speaking, leadership skills, budget planning process knowledge and women peer network for inspiration and effective communication among themselves or between the constituencies and the representative.
After the training, the women committee members formed a peer-to-peer network which will strengthen their ability to work together and support each other in their important roles. The newly formed network will meet on a regular basis and receive regular technical training and advice through the STEP Democracy programme.