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Study: Oppression Changes Role of Burma's Ethnic Karen Women


A new study shows that oppression by Burma's military government has changed the roles of women in the nation's ethnic Karen population.

The report was published this week by the Thailand-based Karen Human Rights Group.

It uses interviews with villagers to document abuses by the Burmese government in its campaign against ethnic Karen rebel forces.

The study's authors show that the stereotypes of women as helpless and vulnerable under these circumstances do not apply to the Karen women.

They show that as men are increasingly forced into labor, tortured, or murdered, women have taken up responsibility for providing household income as well as raising the family

Karen women are now said to be assuming leadership roles within their communities as well as raising and marketing crops, preparing and processing food, and even acting as liaisons between villages and the military.

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