Author: Girl Determined

Girls in Myanmar’s War: Where are their portrayals?

Moving around Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital, I come across a handful of new billboards with a daunting cartoon image of a young teenage boy against a backdrop of military equipment. The signs are a part of a new public awareness campaign aimed at ending recruitment of boys into both the armed forces. Though there are continuing reports of the recruitment of child soldiers, the billboard campaign is a step that at least in some part of the military there is a desire to professionalize the force. Having worked with girls for a decade and coming up to the fifth anniversary of the founding of Girl Determined, a girls’ leadership program in Myanmar, I wonder why there is not a public campaign to root out the use of girls in the war zones as well. I keep asking myself, “what do girl victims of war look like?” And the answer, “much the same as other girls.” Seeing a small boy with a machine gun strapped around his chest is an image that cannot easily be forgotten. …