Women and connectivity in Myanmar

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“Once universal access becomes possible, telecoms systems have a leveling effect, thereby reducing inequities and disparities due to geography, sex and ethnicity,” Daw Yin Yin Nwe, who also acts an advisor on the National Economic and Social Advisory Council, said.

The entry of affordable telecommunication into the Myanmar market has the potential to impact health services, expand market opportunities for women, and improve both traditional and community education, Daw Yin Yin Nwe said.

“Information communication technologies (ICT) are also useful for expanding children’s education beyond the confines of their schoolroom and village or town,” she said. “Because ICT is gender-blind, girls can benefit as much as boys from these new technologies.”

Additionally, increased mobile phone and internet connectivity will indirectly provide a rush of energy to businesses operating in Myanmar.

“Mobiles increase the information outreach of small traders and entrepreneurs, who in Myanmar are often women,” Daw Yin Yin Nwe said.

She gave the example of a woman fish seller or market gardener in a rural area able to use increased telecommunications connectivity to find out prices of her wares in nearby towns and regions, thereby able to use this information to improve her business.

“This can work to their advantage,” Daw Yin Yin Nwe added. “Increased information flow makes it less likely that they will be cheated by middlemen.”