The Irrawaddy Magazine (June 2011, Vol.19 No.2)

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omen have traditionally played a leading role in Burmese society; so it is not surprising that Burma’s democracy movement is led byAung San Suu Kyi. But women in Burma have been subjected to a wide range of human rights violations, including political imprisonment, torture and rape, forced labor, and forcible relocation during the six decades of civil war and oppression in the country. Nonetheless, women continue to play an active role in the political and economic life of the country. Today’s women leaders at all levels are playing an important role in supporting and encouraging more women to engage in political activism, promoting the belief that women have to take joint responsibility for Burma’s development. At the same time, there are countless Burmese women who manage their family’s finances and work alongside their male relatives in their businesses. Burmese photographer Hseng Noung constantly travels with her camera. The following photo essay recalls some of the domestic scenes along Thailand’s turbulent border with Burma—as seen though the eye of a women’s rights activist.

Hseng Noung Lintner began working as a freelance photographer in 1983. She is also an activist who cofounded the Shan Women’s Action Network in 1999 and the Women’s League of Burma. She remains an advisory team member with both groups.