Women Pay the Price in Myanmar Protests

women protesting Myanmar

The New York Times wrote a great article on the women on the front lines of the protests in Myanmar. The military coup last month resulted in the detainment of its leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and deadly ongoing protests.

The death of 18-year old female activist Kyal Sin made headlines as she was shot in the head on March 3rd by security forces in what was considered the deadliest day of protests with 38 people killed.

The Times quoted one of Sin’s friends, Ma Cho Nwe Oo, saying she was a hero for Myanmar. She added, “By participating in the revolution, our generation of young women shows that we are no less brave than men.”

Shots fired into the crowds of protestors by security forces have only escalated, with two women shot in the head and another shot in the chest last week. All three are dead. According to the Times, hundreds of thousands of women have participated in the daily protests all across Myanmar. Women from teacher’s unions, medical workers, and those in the garment industry have come together to oppose the military coup.

Reportedly, the violence has prompted many countries to impose sanctions on Myanmar’s military, including the United States which froze $1 billion in reserves Myanmar’s central bank was held at the New York Federal Reserves. Many officers have been hit with sanctions as their assets in the U.S. have also been frozen.

Overseas firms have cut off their business links with Myanmar’s military, Britain has imposed asset freezes and travel bans for specific generals, while Canada has blacklisted nine military officials. The European Union will impose sanctions as of next week. Currently, the UN is blocked from taking action on the coup as Russia and China continue to side with Myanmar’s violence.

This is such an important time for Myanmar and for women. Read more on this incredible story from The New York Times.

The Realist Woman’s take:

The military recently announced it will no longer allow security forces to shoot protesters with the exception of self-defense and are instructed to only shoot the lower body.

What’s happening in Myanmar is abhorrent, terrifying, and disgusting. And yet, hundreds of thousands of women are putting their lives at risk to fight against injustice. Yes, they might lose their lives participating in these protests but they know there’s so much more to lose when you don’t have rights. To lose one’s rights is a sort of death. Just a slower one.