Improving market opportunities for women (IMOW)
2015 - 2021
MEDA in partnership with Global Affairs Canada is increasing women’s participation in the country’s evolving economy and facilitating opportunities for them to become active, respected and empowered economic actors and leaders.
Myanmar is a country in transition with a rapidly changing economy after emerging from decades of relative isolation. The country is slowly becoming an important actor in Southeast Asia but remains among the world’s poorest and least developed countries.
Myanmar is still primarily a rural country, relying heavily on agriculture as a source of national income. Women play a significant role in agricultural production and engage actively in markets. However, while gender equality exists in laws relating to marriage, inheritance and ownership, gender equality in practice is a different story and gender-specific barriers still exist, keeping women from fully participating in the economy.
Women and girls remain primarily responsible for household chores and a wide wage gap exists between women and men. Women often lack mobility and they face challenges to accessing financing, market information, and higher growth markets. The ownership and control of land and property remains a challenge for women in rural areas.
Significant political reforms are under way and the pace of change with new infrastructure projects and business opportunities is tangible. Myanmar is a gateway country, bordering the superpowers of China and India, and with significant natural resources and a motivated workforce. Investment into the country is on the rise and opportunities within the local business environment are increasing. Technological advancements and adoption are happening at an exponential rate and an influx of foreign aid is also moving into Myanmar with increased demands for coordination and impact.
In agriculture, the often unrecognized role that women play as producers, traders, buyers and more can lead the country toward sustainable development, peace and poverty reduction if supported with the right skills, market access and a thriving agricultural market system.
The project runs for five years, from 2015 to 2020, working within agricultural value chains and markets where women are already active participants. It will support 25,000 women in Shan and Kayin states to become active, respected and empowered economic actors and leaders.
MEDA will work with local partners to improve the standard of living and the business environment for another 125,000 indirect clients who will benefit from the improved household incomes of producers and enhanced goods and services provided by strengthened micro small and medium sized enterprises (MSME) in the agricultural sector.