Myanmar’s military junta is facing a female fightback

Two years after the coup, women are defying the generals’ misogyny by overturning gender stereotypes and mounting political and armed resistance, writes Zoya Phan.

The World Today Updated 2 February 2023 Published 3 February 2023 3 minute READ

Zoya Phan

Campaigns Manager, Burma Campaign UK

When the Myanmar military overturned the democratically elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, 2021, and swiftly turned on protesters, many Burmese assumed life would regress to how it had been under the military dictatorship that ruled for nearly six decades until 2011.

But two years on, despite having killed at least 2,300 pro-democracy activists and arbitrarily detaining 16,000 more, the country’s military rulers, the Tatmadaw, are facing unprecedented resistance. Women are bearing the brunt of the military response in the country’s civil war – more than a million people have been displaced since February 2021, most of whom are women and children. Yet in the horrors of the past two years, on the political front and, to a certain extent, on the battlefield women have been playing a key role.

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