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Christian women promote their rights

Peace Study Center teaches women to expand their role

Christian women promote their rights
Women performing short plays during the workshop reporter, Yangon

March 9, 2011

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Women are considered second-class citizens in, society, the family and the Church, so we need to give them powers so they know their rights, says Daw Aye Aye Than,  from the Peace Study Center at Yangon’s Myanmar Institute of Theology . To this end, the center recently held a workshop for 20 women and 10 men called “‘Women for Peace” in Sittway, in Rakhin state. Here, the organizers emphasized the need to teach women to play a more prominent role in the family and in the Church, Daw Aye Aye said. So we taught them peace and social works in the Bible and trained them in self-improvement technique, she said. “After the workshop we found most of the women had more self-confidence, were able to discuss many topics and were able to talk with their spouses more freely,” she added. According to Daw Aye Aye, many people in Myanmar, including women, still believe a woman’s place is in the home, cooking and looking after the children. But this is not the case anymore, she said.  Women have the right to go out and earn the money needed to take care of their own family. More women need to be aware of this and offered encouragement, she said. “That’s why we offer a woman’s magazine and arranged English and computer courses.” Zo Hming Thangi, executive secretary of the women department at the Myanmar Council of Churches said they have formed a committee to make women more aware of their constitutional rights. Each year we hold a competition on a certain subject that promotes awareness of women’s roles, she said. Recently, the council introduced a low interest loan scheme to allow women to develop their own income and stand on their own two feet financially. The council is also proposing raising awareness on sexual harassment issues which will be considered at the end of March. We would also like to see a more prominent role for women in Churches, Thangyi said. “Churches seem to be worse than society as a whole, as women are not allowed to be ordained in some denominations, and in those that are, society will not accept them.” In the Church males lead the worship and women are relegated to giving health education or some other kind of training, she added. Juliana, a Catholic medical doctor, says even when a woman has the same qualifications as a man she is still treated as inferior. To help overcome this and other issues, she says she and her colleagues are planning to offer sharing sessions with women from various parishes, and to collaborate with women’s associations of other churches in developing life skills. Related reports Women learn to care for kids at boarding houses Myanmar woman tells of refugee situation at home MY13535.1644
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