Organisation Internationale de Droit du Développement

#16Days: Public transport campaign against sexual harassment in Yangon

28 nov 2019

Every day, some 2.2 million people board buses in Yangon, the commercial capital of Myanmar. They travel across the city to commute to work, visit their families, see a doctor, run errands, go about their day.

Buses are the most common form of mass public transit in Myanmar. But the experience can be fraught. Though data is scarce, sexual harassment is prevalent in Yangon and, as in cities all over the world, much of it takes place on public transport. Stories of touching, groping, inappropriate comments and other forms of physical and verbal harassment are common.

For the last three days, public buses in Yangon have been showing a video to raise awareness on what constitutes sexual harassment, empower victims and call on bystanders to stand up to offenders. From 5am until 10pm every day, the video is being streamed on 369 buses covering 11 bus routes in both downtown Yangon and the city’s suburbs. 

In the video, ‘Stand Together Against Sexual Harassment’, actors depict a series of scenarios on public transport, in the workplace and in the streets to show examples of sexual harassment of women, and the importance of speaking out against it.

“Acts that constitute sexual harassment are often deemed to be minor and can be overlooked as a joke,” explained Morgane Landel, IDLO’s Country Manager in Myanmar. “By screening this video on buses, IDLO hopes that people will take note of this issue and understand how it can impact people as they go about their daily lives.”

The video is being shown as part of a public awareness and community engagement campaign by the Rule of Law Centres project, implemented by IDLO and funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development and the Embassy of Denmark. The video was originally produced by IDLO in partnership with MyJustice, the British Council and the European Union.

‘Stand Together Against Sexual Harassment’ will continue to be shown on Yangon’s public buses throughout the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, a global campaign running from November 25 until December 10, 2019. In addition to showing the video, IDLO’s teams will travel on some of the buses to engage with passengers and discuss the content of the video.