It is rare to hear Rakhaing women’s voice speaking out among the ethnic groups.
Mra Raza Linn, Chairperson of Rakhaing Women Union (RWU) said, “60% of the Rakhaing population is women, and we notice that women’s rights are gradually drifting away. I am also concerned about the history of women being neglected alongside their contribution to the present."
Mra Raza Linn also said, "Most of the Rakhaing women are satisfied being housewives. Being that women are a majority in society but otherwise left out concerning future development is a set back in building a democratic society."
"We want to advocate Rakhaing women to be self-reliant. This is one of our Union’s objectives. We established RWU in November 1998, organizing seminars and training in public health, advocacy for equal rights, and gender issues.”
In regards to the honorary naming address for Rakhaing women she explains, “We don’t want to use “Daw” anymore, like the majority of Burmese,...and Karens use Nan or Naw and Shan use Nann." Instead, the Rakhaing voted to use “Saw” since famous Rakhaing Queens', female writers' and poets' names began with "Saw."
“We have to look at the gender barriers in our society from a woman’s point of view because only we can see and understand our rights. I don’t see any women politicians in this free liberated area. How could these political parties achieve goals without women participation? This society is created by both male and female human beings. That is why I urged and call all political parties to include women in their movements. Women need to be a part of the Constitution since women make the majority of the population,” she added.
Coordinator of RWU, Saw Oo Khin Mya said, “We work and march along equally with men in this movement. However, we do not have equal rights as far as opportunities are concerned, and we face tons of challenges such in leadership, shelter, food shortage, clothing, medicine...Even if we stay at home, it is not safe for us due to the Burmese soldiers’ harassment and the nightmare of forced labor.”