Debbie Aung’s vision of equality

On the occasion of International Women’s day 2020, we asked Debbie Aung Din, co-founder of our partner organisation Proximity Designs, to share her vision of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Read her exclusive interview.

On the occasion of International Women’s day 2020, we asked Debbie Aung Din, co-founder of our partner organisation Proximity Designs, to share her vision of gender equality and women’s empowerment. 
Debbie’s interview follows two other exclusive interviews with Safeena Husain, founder of Educate Girls, and Molly Melching, founder of Tostan.

Gender equity, gender equality. What do you choose?
Gender equity although I think the distinctions we make are false and too rigid.

What is the main leap forward women made in recent years?
Women’s voices are increasingly becoming stronger and heard around the world, despite societal pressures and traditions that keep them silent or restrain them.Women are becoming more emboldened and confident to push the boundaries and break out of oppressive societal norms to fulfil their individual potential and to be recognized as respected and contributing members of their local and to the global community.

What is the highest wall they still need to climb?
Lack of access to educational opportunities and knowledge, particularly in poorer communities.

“Empowering women” has become a buzzword. What does it truly mean for you?
It means giving women opportunities to grow and develop as individuals, by exposing them to new ideas and new experiences, coaching them at work, teaching them practical skills and habits such as “growth mind-set” and negotiation skills. It means providing them with emotional support so they feel a sense of community – and that they’re not alone on their path.

Role models can help break down conscious and unconscious bias for girls and women. You’re definitely one, but do you have one?
I am inspired today by Greta Thunberg. Regardless of her youth, her gender and her background – she is speaking and living her truth.

What is the most important lesson you have learnt in your fight for gender equality?
Respecting the sacred dignity and beauty of each individual person and the importance of being grounded in who you are. The fight involves the struggle for transformation at both an individual, interior level as well as the broader societal and exterior level of institutions and systems.