In Her Own Words

Htar Htar, Myanmar

“If you invest in local women’s organizations, you are contributing to communities, which is the foundation of a nation and is the most sustainable way for development.  If the communities are stronger, the nation will be stronger.”

Htar Htar is the Executive Director of Akhaya Women, a WPHF partner in Myanmar. Htar’s organization provides support mechanisms for women and men in Myanmar to challenge gender stereotypes, promote women’s empowerment and advance gender equality.

“With deep-rooted social and cultural norms, women are perceived as second-class citizens and inferior to men, which is the main cause of gender inequality in Myanmar. As a consequence, domestic and SGB violence in Myanmar is widespread and socially legitimized, supported by a culture of silence and impunity.”

With WPHF support through its COVID-19 Emergency Response Window, Akhaya Women works to improve community cohesion and address the sharp rise in domestic violence across Myanmar in the context of the global pandemic.

“We started the very first women action campaign in Myanmar called “Whistle for Help” to stop sexual harassment on buses. We started raising sensitive issues and took risks.”

Htar’s organization is strengthening women’s self-confidence through community support groups, enabling women to demand their rights and politically engage in the broader social environment with enhanced knowledge, skills and awareness.

“When women become leaders, they can make extraordinary changes, not only in their families, but in their communities and societies.”