Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Gendered narratives of human security in Mandalay.

Dr Kyi Mar3, Dr Win Win Soe1, Dr Pearl Khin2, Daw N Khum Ja  Ra4

1Department of Anthropology, Mandalay University, Myanmar, 2Department of Geography, Mandalay University, Myanmar, 3Department of International Relations, Mandalay University, Myanmar, 4Department of Economics

In Europe, the USA and many Asian countries, populist messages appealing to gendered human security narratives are an increasingly influential force in national politics. From the anti-immigration policies of the Orban government in Hungary, offering tax breaks for Hungarian women bearing four or more children, to the rhetoric of Donald Trump in promoting the Mexican border wall to keep out ‘rapists’, these discourses of human security are shaped to appeal to the concerns of female voters. In Myanmar, populist narratives of ‘others’ who threaten indigenous culture, values and population have also influenced public policy, most recently in widespread public support for laws restricting polygamy and family size of Muslims in Rakhine State.  These laws drew enormous popular support from women. In Mandalay, human security narratives relate the perceived influence to populations considered to be non-indigenous, and these narratives themselves express concerns which are highly gendered. By using narrative methods, this research will explore the intersection of gender, place and human security, particularly how these factors relate to and redefine each other in constructing of the pasts, presents and futures in the society of Mandalay. It will seek to identify different discourses of human security which are specifically relevant to women, and how these narratives influence, and are influenced, by wider discourses in the media, and how these are shaped by changing spatial forms of physical and online community.


Dr. Kyi Mar is an Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations, University of Mandalay. She received her PhD form University of Mandalay focusing on Judicial System in Myanmar (1937-1987) in 2007. Her recent publications include Myanmar’s activities to combat human trafficking research in Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science Journal, and the Role of Rule of Law in a Sovereign State research and Consequences of Brexit for Britain in Monywa University Research Journal. Her fields of specialization are international relations, judiciary, rule of law, European studies, democracy, gender, human security and human rights.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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