Burmese Women Caught in Crossfire

Women in Burma are among the biggest casualties as the government continues its military offensive against armed ethnic groups in a conflict that has been going on for decades.
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'Going to the Field,' by Maung Aw, 2008
Courtesy Karin Weber Gallery
Aside from being displaced with their families from villages, women have also been victims of rape and other sexual violence perpetrated by the Burmese military, according to rights groups and U.N. experts. Various reports have been compiled by local and international groups which accuse the Burmese military of using rape as a weapon of war.

Facts on Burmese Women

27.15 million out of a total population of 54.6 million

67.71 years

Labor participation rate: 63.10%.
Most work in farms.Others are mainly teachers or nurses or are involved in small and medium-sized businesses.

20 of the 659 elected members in Burma’s Parliament are women.
There are no women cabinet ministers.

The main opposition leader is Aung San Suu Kyi, head of the National League for Democracy.

Literacy rate: 86.4%.

Percentage of women in national government: 7.9%

Average age of marriage: 26.1 years
Total fertility rate: 2.03 births per woman
Maternal mortality rate: 240 deaths/100,000 live births

81,000 are infected by the HIV virus that causes AIDS, for 33.8% of total HIV infections.

Ethnic Mosaic

To better understand Burma, it is important to note the various ethnic groups that make up the country, once colonized by the British and now ruled by a nominally civilian government backed by the military.

(Sources:UNICEF, UNAIDS, U.S. State Department)

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