After the military coup in Myanmar on 1 February 2021, the one thing that cannot be omitted is the role of women’s involvement among the people, students, and monks who are revolting against the military dictatorship.
Being oppressed and facing discrimination for every age, women can work side by side with men and keep playing a role in the revolution not to weaken.
They have participated in the military coup and armed revolution with their brave and outstanding amidst the oppression and difficulties.
Honest Information consistently writes about the voice of women to leave the role of courageous, honorable women in history.
Here are some events to reflect the involvement of women in political pages summarized and selected from the articles written and published from May to July 2022, 3-month duration.
The Military Continues to act in violation against women
During the civilian government, the human rights activists and women organizations eliminated to less those kinds of oppression, but all efforts were destroyed by the military coup.
Human rights groups, women’s affairs activists, and revolutionary groups who opposed the military junta told that hundreds of women were killed brutally after the military coup.
They said women were targeted during military conflicts. Women have been killed for participating in the protests and sacrificed their lives in the battles between the military council and local defense forces.
According to the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children’s Affairs of NUG, approximately 150 women were killed by the military junta’s forces nationwide within a year and a month of the military coup.
In every case, women were brutally and violently killed.
There was a terrible example, a woman and her child were murdered at Inn Nge Daung village, Pauk Township, Magway Division, on 5 March. The coup army killed the daughter with a bayonet and shot the mother with a gun.
There were significant events among those murders: such as a woman who had only been married for seven days from Yaysagyo, a CDM teacher with five months of pregnancy, a woman who was shot in the head with a gun from Seseng township, a mother and her child who were accused of being PDF supporters.
The Yaysagyo case is more obvious brutality evidence of the coup army. Because they burned a CDM teacher in her alive for no reason.
The military is arresting and imprisoning the people who opposed them almost every day, relying on their weapons after they illegally seized the state power.
Moreover, if they could not arrest who they wanted, they imprisoned the family member who remained at home, including elderlies and children, as a hostage.
Although the number of people being held as hostages is 76, the actual number will be more than that, AAPP announced.
28 have been released among them, and 45 have remained in custody.
In addition, 36 were women out of those 76 arrested people.
It is intensely disgusting and inhumane that the military council held the hostage, an AAPP officer remarked.
According to the Assistance Association for the Political Prisoners (AAPP), 3,104 women have been arrested since the military coup. And 744 women have been released, but 2,351 still have been in custody.
There are still anti-military junta movements everywhere in Myanmar after one and half years of the military coup. The guerrilla strikes frequently have been in urban areas, although there are not fully crowded protests like at the beginning of the military coup.
The military constantly suppressed the guerrilla strike, such as hitting the strike columns with the car, violently arresting the protesters, and arresting young people on the pretext of the overnight guest list.
Young women also bravely participate in these guerrilla strike protests.
Young protesters are facing difficulties such as have informed by an informative spy and not easy to rent an apartment because the owners suspect them as PDFs.
In mid-June, almost 30 young strikers were imprisoned by the Military in Yangon after the military arrested the taxi driver used by young protesters.
Despite these difficulties, the urban guerilla strikes still appeared daily in public to oppose the military coup instead of disappearing.
Women are also participating in the protests opposing the military dictatorship from the beginning of the coup.
Women from various sectors and ages, such as CDM teachers, policewomen, government staff, medical staff, doctors, young women, and students, are participating in the movements against the military junta.
On 1 March 2022, the CDM teachers led to start and run an education system on their agenda in Myaung township, one of the areas strongly opposing the military coup, located in upper Myanmar.
This has brought back to revive the distancing of education due to Covid and the coup.
22 schools have been started, and about 350 teachers are teaching around 3,700 students at present.
Arms up and revolutionizing women
In this spring revolution, women are revolting against the military council in various ways, and some marvelous women are taking up arms.
The M2W produced up to 5 types of hand-made mines within 10 months and was formed as the first women’s unit in October 2021. They are 20 to 40 years old.
Should not forget the role of the Underground Unit, which is conducting urban guerrilla operations among those people revolutionizing the Military Council in various ways.
Because they tiredly operated in the urban area with more difficulty and is not easy to elude. Furthermore, it is the highest possibility of arresting or losing a life.
There is no chance to express grief with their name when arrested and killed. They gave up their lives without the notice of the public.
Despite the dangers and difficulties, urban operations continue between connecting groups, including many various-aged marvelous women.
Women are fiercely involved in armed revolt.
A Kyi, a 20-year-old engineering student at the Burmese People Liberation Army (BPLA) Basic Military Training, is an award-winning female sharpshooter.
She won this award among over a hundred trainees, especially men. This is also a good enough opportunity to refute gender stereotypes and discrimination.
Since women began to participate equally with men among the young people who are learning about military training to root out the dictator, women commando groups, guerrilla warrior groups, and women snipers are now joining the fight in battles.
Khaing(20) is the officer of the administrative office at BPLA. She also argued these words that women are not involved in a war, incompetent to fight. This is an ingrained and stereotypical idea and needs to uproot.
She strongly advocated for the revolution against being labeled as the second sex and being exposed to gender-based discrimination and harassment.
Role of Women Supporting to Revolution
As well as women being armed on the front lines of the revolution, many others are supported from behind.
They supported where they could, such as cooking food for the revolutionary forces, supplying food, and giving up and selling their personal belongings to assist.
They lost all possessions as IDPs under the military council, but they supported the revolution by donating their pieces of jewelry which were the last things they belonged to.
Local women from Myaing township sold off their earrings and supported purchasing weapons and ammunition for the revolutionary forces. Earrings are a priceless accessory for women.
The civilian women were spared and donated this valuable treasure to use in the revolution.
Not only donations but also some courageous, heroic mothers are supporting their PDF children by selling their land, farmland, and cows to purchase the weapon.
The role of fundraisers who are looking for funds is also very crucial while trying to keep the revolution going.
Dar Dar is a woman fundraiser for the Myanmar Defense Force (MDF) against the military council in Sagaing Division.
Women like Dar Dar are joining urban guerrilla strikes and receiving donations from their close friends to supply necessary financial support for their friends who study military training in the liberated areas.
In addition, there are supporters, women soldiers, who send necessary food and supplies to the frontline soldiers.
The supporter is very hazardous work, even for a male. It is harder for a woman.
There are numerous difficulties for female soldiers, such as avoiding the battles and military lines while assisting the front line, hardly going through the forest route due to the weather, and finding money to buy weapons.
The military council illegally arrested women, including pregnant and they faced many hardships in prison during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are suffering both physically and mentally in prison for many months.
Early pregnant women usually occurred rapid mood fluctuations, so they face a lot of emotional damage during Interrogation before jail.
They are insomnia, worrying about their family being left outside, and visualizing being arrested.
During the later stage of pregnancy, they were not comfortable sleeping on the floor because they suffered from limbs-swelling, waist pain, and unable to carry their body.
Oppression of workers and sex workers under the military council
Employers are openly violating workplace rights and labor laws under the protection of unstable political situations.
Even though the labor affairs advocates are aware of these things, they only have a little chance to help effectively in this lawlessness time. Because they also have evaded according to their security threats.
There are innumerable things such as forced laborers to work overtime without pay, not paying salary on time, swearing rude words that no one dares to hear in the workplace, sexual harassment of female workers, and so on.
The woman worker shared her experiences, “They slapped our butts because we did not dare to complain. Occasionally, they embraced our shoulders and kissed like a ridiculous.”
Some sex workers are now facing more physical and mental abuse than before.
Initially, sex workers are not protected by law, and they are facing lives of insecurity after the coup.
In the past, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have assisted sex workers in violent situations. But it has totally changed now. Less assistance from NGOs, the weak legal system of the country, and dire economic conditions have made sex workers face more violence.
But, the contribution of women to revolution is not decreasing, despite these challenges. Women are still revolutionizing the military in various ways, from their role.
Fighting the conservative patriarchy, and for the longyi (Htamain)
As a celebration of International Women’s Day, longyi flags and longyi strikes emerged across the country on 8 March 2021, along with the Spring Revolution. On the roads, women held longyi flags as an icon of the revolution.
There are diverse ideologies and disagreements related to the use of the various method and ideas of women longyi in revolution after the military coup has been more than one and a half years.
It is no matter how diverse the ideologies are. The women exist in their hearts to resist the patriarchy that emerged with the dictator.
It is incredibly proud that courageous and marvelous women have consistently fought under the terrible oppression of military dictators in all eras, like a phoenix in the flame.
The generation of 21 century should not forget about the historical page of the marvelous women who bravely contributed to the revolution from their roles despite the hardships, difficulties, human rights violations, violence, and oppression under the military council.
Everyone should acknowledge the courageous strength of women participating in the Spring Revolution.
The cradle-swinging hands are taking up arms and revolutionizing against the military junta.
No matter how oppressing the military council is, the courageous marvelous women will surely keep revolutionizing the dictatorship.