In recent years the government of Myanmar has enacted legislation and implemented numerous programmes to mainstream gender equality in the development of the country. There have been several improvements in economic and social status indicators for Myanmar women. Indicators have improved for women’s labour force participation, nonagricultural wages, access to credit, literacy, primary and secondary education gender gaps, and maternal mortality (World Bank, 2018a). Yet the country has a long way to go to reach gender equality. Myanmar was ranked 145th out of 189 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s 2019 Gender Inequality Index. Other ASEAN countries scored remarkably better than Myanmar: for example, Singapore ranked 9th, Brunei 43rd and Malaysia 61st. while only Cambodia ranked below Myanmar. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s 2019 Social Institutions and Gender Index ranked Myanmar 94th out of 120 countries and 7th of 8 countries in Southeast Asia. The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Report ranked Myanmar 114th out of 153 countries, the lowest ranking among ASEAN member countries. Myanmar scored 0.47 on the World Bank’s Human Capital Index, implying that a girl born today will only be half as productive as she could have been if she had enjoyed full education and health (World Bank, 2019). Low public spending on health and education has contributed to sub-optimal improvements of gender indicators in these areas (World Bank, 2019).

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