An Interface to make Myanmar's cities safer for women kicked off in Yangon on Friday with a minister calling for swift action by authorities on crimes against women.
However, U Nyi Nyi, member of parliament and member of Social welfare committee, also appealed to women to 'promptly report' such crimes, so that they are not swept under the carpet.
In his inaugural lecture at the Interface organised at Yangon's Summit Parkview hotel by ActionAid with Mizzima as a media partner, the minister gave some recent instances of crime against women, in which the government has to intervene after the courts had let off the criminals on account of insufficient evidence.
"We want all women who have suffered a crime like rape or molestation to report the crime promptly and without any fear," said U Nyi Nyi. " The law will support you if you are prompt in reporting the crime and giving all information in your complaint."
Earlier Action Aid country director Shihab Uddin Ahmed said ensuring safety for women was part of the larger effort to make cities livable.
"Women constitute 90 percent of the workforce in garment industries. They are migrating more to cities like Yangon from villages than men. Population data indicate that, said Mr Ahmed.
He said women who migrate to a city like Yangon dont have the 'kind of social capital they enjoy in the village'. So it is for the government and other social groups to help them out as they seek to grapple with problems of food and nutrition, transport, education for children and health for the family."
Shihab Uddin said the number of woman working in garment industries would soon cross the one million mark.
"So we are talking about a lot of women and issues involving them. Their safety should top the agenda of government and citizens," Shihab Uddin said, adding that the responsbility to make Myanmar cities safer for women rested as much with the government as with the citizens.