Women’s voices make a difference


Cartoon birds painting a mural

The voices of women in parliament create more diverse conversations and offer different perspectives on policy topics.

An Indigenous women’s organization is shaping the future of Myanmar by bringing attention to the barriers women face when entering politics.

Volunteer Mary Thompson at work with Jeepyah as an Organizational Development Advisor.

The Jeepyah¬†Civil Society Development Organization¬†(JCSDO) in Mon State, Myanmar, works with the country’s¬†Indigenous¬†Mon population,¬†a marginalized group¬†living mostly in the southeast. ¬†

Cuso volunteer Mary Thompson has been working with Jeepyah as an Organizational Development Advisor for two years. She’s been instrumental in securing new funding partnerships for community outreach initiatives.  

For one of those projects, more than 30 women members of parliament in Mon and Karen states and Tanintharyi Region shared personal anecdotes about the hurdles they had to overcome to even get a foot in the door, and those they continue to face.

Mary worked with a local artist who took their words and turned them into art. The drawings were published in a book with descriptions in Mon, Burmese and English.

‚ÄúThe idea was to take these difficult concepts and turn them into something that any person, even if they‚Äôre not‚ÄĮreally able‚ÄĮto read or write, can look at and understand,‚ÄĚ she says.¬†

Founded in 2012, Jeepyah works to strengthen understanding about gender equality, democracy and rule of law; to build skills and knowledge among youth through access to education and training; and to empower women to understand and advocate for their rights by increasing leadership opportunities and supporting survivors of gender-based violence.