UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security. Placing women’s rights at the centre of all its efforts, UN Women leads and coordinates United Nations system efforts to ensure that commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world.
UN Women is mandated to lead the UN system-wide coordination of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda, as elaborated inter-alia through UN Security Council resolutions—1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106, 2122, 2242, 2467, and 2493. To this end, UN Women works with governments, UN partners, and civil society around the world to support women’s participation and influence at all levels of decision-making to prevent and resolve conflict, to protect their rights during and after conflicts and to ensure that their specific needs are addressed during repatriation, resettlement and for rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction.
UNDP supports the Women, Peace and Security Agenda through certain of its SDG localization programs. For example, N-Peace, or ‘Engage for Equality, Access, Community and Empowerment’ is a UNDP flagship initiative founded in 2010 to commemorate a decade of UNSCR 1325 implementation of the WPS agenda with the goal of increasing the role of women in conflict resolution and peace-building.
UN Women and UNDP signed a Memorandum of Understanding at global level in 2018, committing to strengthen cooperation including in crises and fragile states. In Myanmar, UN Women and UNDP are partnering to deliver a number of joint-projects including through area-based programming in Rakhine and Kachin states.
Under Its Strategic Note 2019-2021, The UN Women Myanmar Country Office Focuses On Delivering On The Following Interlinked Program Areas Underpinned By Support For Intergovernmental And Normative Processes
- Women’s Leadership and Gender Responsive Governance
- Women’s Economic Empowerment
- Women, Peace and Security and Gender in Humanitarian Action
UN Women’s work on Women, Peace and Security in Myanmar follows two mutually reinforcing streams:
- Supporting the Government, non-state actors and development partners in coordinating national efforts on WPS to advance the implementation of the national and international commitments of Myanmar on gender equality and the empowerment of women, including the National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women, the Beijing Platform for Action, CEDAW and Security Council Resolutions 1325 and subsequent Resolutions comprising the WPS agenda.
- Supporting the localization of the WPS agenda at the sub-national level
Within the scope of its strategic coordination work on WPS, UN Women is partnering with UNDP to commission the first ever Gender Responsive Conflict Analysis of Myanmar.
Myanmar is emerging from a period of over 60 years of isolation, authoritarian rule, and protracted armed conflict. The Country has embarked on a historic process of peace, governance, and economic reforms. While women constitute 52 per cent of Myanmar’s population, its androcentric society, exacerbated by militarism, has contributed to women bearing the disproportionate brunt of socio-economic and political marginalization.
Women’s vulnerabilities and inequalities in Myanmar are underpinned by a variety of factors, including rigid gender and social norms that define gender roles and determine the different opportunities to livelihoods and leadership and decision-making between women and men. These gender and social norms are deeply engrained, for example, in legal frameworks, resulting in laws such as the Myanmar Buddhist Women’s Special Marriage Law, which requires that Buddhist women submit applications before marriages to non-Buddhist men, and the Population Control Health Care Law, which gives the state the right to impose birth-spacing requirements on women. Rigid social and gender norms and stereotypes replicated and reinforced by media, in schools and public lives, furthermore, perpetuate women’s care giving role, sexism and inequalities.
Despite some progress as evidenced by the results of the last elections and the inclusion in the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement of a non-binding target of 30% for participation in the peace process, formal and informal governance structures in Myanmar remain male dominated. A lack of cultural acceptance of female leadership, low intra-household negotiating power, as well as time constraints due to care work continue to be key barriers to women’s political participation and leadership. With women’s voices left out of the peace process, opportunities for negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution remain out of reach, exacerbating an already slow peace process.
Despite the country’s economic progress and push for economic development, women and girls continue to face barriers to attaining income security, decent work, and economic autonomy. Economic inequalities coupled with barriers to joining the labor force creates an environment of vulnerability, exposing some women to unsafe and exploitative working conditions at home or forcing others to migrate through irregular mechanisms, becoming further susceptible to exploitation, trafficking and abuse. Violence against women (VAW) continues also to be ever-present in both public and private spaces and while it is one of the most prevalent injustices faced by women, it is also the least likely to be brought to formal or informal mechanisms for justice as they were understood as matters outside of the law.
All of these vulnerabilities and discriminations have been exacerbated by the socio-economic impact of the COVID19 crisis which has disproportionally affected women and girls.
Crisis-affected women and girls, who make up more than half of those displaced by conflict in Rakhine, Kachin, and Shan states, are furthermore exposed to various forms of human rights violations and protection risks including SGBV, sexual exploitation and abuse, trafficking, child and forced marriage, as well as overall gender discrimination. They face barriers to accessing relief, services, information, income-generating activities, community participation and decision-making at all levels. There are major unmet needs for women in camps, including access to water, WASH, non-food items, education, nutrition, shelter, health, livelihoods, improved camp coordination and management to ensure it is more representative of women and marginalized groups. The most vulnerable in Myanmar experience protection risks and destitute living conditions – for example in regards to human trafficking and the drug trade – which expose them to a vicious cycle of negative coping mechanisms, including sex work, labor migration and exploitation in the labor market.
This is all the more concerning that Myanmar has experienced a steady increase of active sub-national conflicts; especially in Rakhine and Southern Chin State in recent years, with some of the most violent fighting in the country in recent decades. It is estimated that more than 1 million people in Myanmar, a majority of whom are women and girls, are currently in situations of urgent humanitarian need and facing critical problems relating to living standards, physical and mental wellbeing, or erosion of coping mechanisms.
Considering this context, there is increased understanding in Myanmar that gender is critical in determining conflict and working towards peace and social cohesion and the government has started to integrate the concept of Women, Peace and Security in its work, creating for instance a Technical Working Group on Women, Peace and Security – currently co-chaired by the General Administrative Division and UN Women, with AGIPP as alternative co-chair – under the Myanmar National Committee on Women. Most of the analysis of the multiple conflict dynamics in the country and peacebuilding strategies remain however gender blind.
Rationale for Gender-Responsive Conflict analysis (GCA/GRCA)
Integrating gender into conflict analysis does not only enhance the inclusiveness and effectiveness of peacebuilding interventions but also deepens the understanding of the underlying gender power relations and how they in turn influence and are affected by conflict and peacebuilding. Peacebuilding initiatives are more likely to be successful if they are driven thorough studying the complexities of conflict that recognizes both the influence of gender norms on conflict and conflict on social gender norms.
Despite Security Council Resolutions continued encouragement (S/RES/2282 (2016); S/RES/ 2467 ( 2019 ) ), the UN system still has capacity challenges in undertaking a conflict analysis with a gender lens. (SG Report on WPS, 2019). Many interventions aimed at facilitating WPS have approached women's inclusion through top-down approaches: influencing policy and lawmakers, empowering women to realize their economic potential, and introducing quotas for women's participation in peace agreements and political institutions. However, these approaches cannot always address the underlying structural causes of gender inequality. Furthermore, considering peace a top-level political or military process falls short of addressing the broader, nuanced issues faced by ordinary people affected by conflict in society.
Gender analysis of conflict has so far largely focused on conflict related sexual violence. Such an understanding equates women and victimhood, which undermines women’s agency as active participants and distorts discourses by failing to consider women’s broader experience in conflict (pre-during and post).
Through a comprehensive gender-responsive conflict analysis (GRCA), gendered paths to conflict as well as peace can be identified, understood, and addressed. Such analysis is essential according to UNSCR 1325 for a sustainable peace. The results from a gender responsive conflict analysis (GRCA) can be used as an evidence base not only to inform WPS prioritization and programming but to feed into broader programs straddling the humanitarian-peace-development nexus.
A current and retrospective examination of gender norms (roles, expectations, dynamics structures and symbols) that trigger or contribute to armed conflict/insecurity coupled with an analysis of conflict through a gender lens, safeguards against gendered dimensions that can contribute to a relapse into armed conflict (UN Practice Note (2016)). A GRCA serves to uncover opportunities and identify partnerships with women civil society organizations (CSOs) (including Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs)), non-state actors in peace and security related planning and beyond.
UN Women has engaged in several pilot GRCAs through varying geographical and political contexts. Myanmar will be the first pilot in Asia and in a non-peacekeeping context.
Duties And Responsibilities
II. Objective of the Assignment
In partnership with UNDP, UN Women is recruiting a team of two consultants to elaborate a comprehensive Gender Responsive Conflict Analysis of Myanmar.
Reporting to the Head of Programmes at the Myanmar UN Women Country Office, supported by the Women, Peace and Security Advisor, and to the Gender Advisor at the UNDP Myanmar Country Office, the consultants will develop a robust and comprehensive Gender Responsive Conflict Analysis, looking at both the country as a whole and at each of the main areas of historic and active conflict, in particular Kachin State, Shan State and Rakhine State, as well as Kayah, Kayin and Mon States.
The GRCA will subsequently be used to guide strategic programming and will feed into a variety of ongoing and forthcoming processes such as the work of the United Nations Country Team on durable solutions and the implementation of the Government’s Camp Closure Strategy, support for the implementation of the Kofi Annan Rakhine Advisory Commission and the development of the Common Country Assessment (CCA) which will subsequently feed into the development of the future United Nations System Development Coordination Framework (UNSDCF).
Duties And Responsibilities
- Undertake a gender–responsive conflict analysis, moving beyond documenting the gendered impact of conflict to assessing the gendered dynamics that can fuel conflict and can contribute to peace;
- Identify the key factors and gender drivers contributing to conflict and peace in Myanmar;
- Understand their differentiated impact on men, women and diversities;
- Reflect on how power relations based on gender impact or are influenced by these factors/drivers, as well as by sustaining peace efforts in the country;
- Identify current and potential roles of women as peacebuilders;
- Develop a causal, role – pattern and capacity gap analysis framed by the human rights-based approach;
- Undertake a systems thinking of conflict analysis, an assessment of interconnectedness between factors (causes, consequences) and actors and dynamics of conflict which can help identify underlying causes of conflit and uncover opportunities to promoting/consolidating peace;
- Locate leverage points or opportunities to increase the gender-sensitivity, effectiveness and sustainability of the peace processes.
The lead consultant will be expected to carry out the following:
- Desk review of all the relevant literature
- Based on this lead consultant develops an analytical grid and methodology for consultations
- Data Collection: Consultations through semi-structured interviews with CSOs, non-state actors (including the private sector) UN agencies, NGOs and women leaders are organized across the country, most likely remotely. As Myanmar has a strong pre-existing network of CSOs, this network will be the reservoir for data collection.
- Data Collation
- Analysis and Drafting of Report
- Validation (including a feedback loop with the groups consulted)
Considering The COVID19 Related Travel Restrictions And Potential Need To Be Able To Engage Stakeholders In Myanmar Language, Tit Is Recommended That The Lead Consultant Consider At His/her Discretion Engaging a Local Expert (sub-contractor) To Assist In
- Adding to any gaps in desk based literature review
- Working with lead consultant to ensure representative consultations with CSOs, women leaders and relevant stakeholders across the country (and flag measures that need to be taken to account for cultural sensitivity, intersectionality, for example translation services)
- Data Collection
- Data Collation
- Support lead Consultant in Validation of Report
Geographical Scope of GRCA : (i) Whole of Myanmar with (ii) a particular focus on Kachin, Rakhine and Shan states as well as (iii) Kayah, Kayin and Mon states. The rationale for a whole of country approach is that gender norms may be nuanced through the States. Understanding these nuances can have real world application for programming. For example, in looking at durable solutions and the option of resettlement, understanding the gender dynamics and norms of each state can inform a sustainable transition that serves the interest of the affected population.
Challenges: COVID and related movement restrictions; access to some parts of the country.
Expected Timefram e
Timeframe and Human Resources:
January – February 2021: Initial desk review of existing literature and production of an inception report (3 to 5 pages) outlining methodology and analytical grid for consultations. (6 days) home-based.
February – March 2021: Carry out full desk-based gender-responsive conflict and peace analyses on Myanmar and key stakeholder interviews (33 days) home-based (with international or national travel if COVID conditions allow)
April – May 2021: Report drafting, validation process and report finalization (21 days)
Expected Human Resources
1 international Consultant (60 days)
III Scope of Work
The lead consultant is expected to identify and work in close collaboration with a local consultant. Subcontracting partial work under this assignment is the discretion of the consultant. The subcontractor shall not be considered in any respect being the employee or agent of UN Women and the consultant shall be solely responsible for all claims arising out of or relating to their engagement of the subcontractor.
Final products and deliverables
The consultancy is expected to be completed within a period of four (4) months from the date of the contract signing with close communications with the, Head of Programme, UN Women Myanmar Office and the Gender Specialist, UNDP Myanmar Office.
The consultancy will result in the following output: -
Schedule of Payment
Final and agreed inception note: Outline of methodology including initial list of relevant literature, detailed list of diverse stakeholders (authorities, civil society, non-state actors, other partners and UN system) + diverse views and opinions to be collected; Key Women organizations/networks, feminist organizations, women peace activists. Schedule for completing the activities.
End of January to mid-February
Progress Report (including final list of interview questions) and approved list of key informants as well as desk review of all relevant literature and sources
Mid March 2021
Progress Report And Validation Workshops (with Different Interest Groups)
Prioritization of findings and joint review from UN Women and UNDP. Prioritization of findings based on general to specific factors and on thematic grouping as specific conflict dynamics.
Lenses: differentiated impact of each driver/factor on men, women and diversities + structural VAW as a driver itself; Desk Review with new documents; Joint review with UN Women and UNDP Myanmar; Debriefing; Presentation of findings and programming workshop (remotely).
Mid April 2021
Including but not limited to: Executive Summary: Key Findings; Key Recommendations. Introduction
Objectives and Methodology Ethical Considerations; Methodological Limitations and Challenges; Demographic Profile; Findings and Analysis (covering both national and state specific analysis);
Overarching Recommendations; Strategic Gender Programming Recommendations; Opportunities; Key Actors;
Early May 2021
30 May 2021
- Respect for Diversity
- Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues
- Creative Problem Solving
- Effective Communication
- Inclusive Collaboration
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Leading by Example