Empowering Entrepreneurial Women in Myanmar

Established in 1995, Myanmar Women Entrepreneur’s Association (MWEA) is formed to raise the awareness for the role and capabilities of Myanmar women in family and society, and support the national and international vision of social and self-development. This non-governmental organization is one of the pioneer organizations of feminist activists in Myanmar. Daw Hla Waddy, President of Myanmar Women Entrepreneur’s Association, discusses MWEA’s endeavours in the socio-economic development process of Myanmar.

European Times: What is the role of MWEA in Myanmar’s business sector?

Daw Hla Waddy: In order to enhance the role of Myanmar women entrepreneurs in the development of the country, MWEA facilitates the economic empowerment and lives of women, by providing the necessary resources, knowledge, skills, management capacity and modern technology, through partnership and collaboration with both local and international organizations.

MWEA has over 1.700 registered members open to all six Regions and seven States of Myanmar. The membership is voluntary and includes women entrepreneurs, women working as executive and supervisory stuff in business organizations, business educators and consultants.

European Times: What are MWEA’s main objectives and strategies?

MyanmarWomenEntrepreneursAssociation

Daw Hla Waddy: One of the main MWEA’s objectives is to unite and bring into focus and world attention, the role and capabilities of Myanmar women as entrepreneurs. The association’s activities also strive to facilitate and promote cooperation among women entrepreneurs, to encourage modern methods of business management, to promote activities to elevate the socio-economic life of Myanmar women and support environment-friendly and culturally sensitive businesses. The association is actively working to encourage and deepen the relations with other national and international women associations, economists and professionals, providing interactive relations with over 30 international women entrepreneurs associations. MWEA is a federation member of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) and the International Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (IFWE).

MWEA’s strategies are based on the creation of supportive culture, family and social environment that encourages women’s entrepreneurial endeavours, advocating the development of laws and policy, supporting the right of the women to have equal access to economic opportunities and providing humanitarian and charity support for the poorest and most vulnerable women and their families.

European Times: What are MWEA’s future development strategies?

Daw Hla Waddy: The MWEA is active for over 20 years, the trend is changing, and we have opened ourselves in the national and international cooperation, primarily with the ASEAN. We need to empower the next generation and to be the next leaders to run our country. We encourage and support business discussions, coaching and mentoring, how to be a decent woman, a leading woman, how to empower, how to find access to finance and new markets. MWEA is a platform where all women are welcome to join, to network and get exposure as well as get advice and guidance.