Five indigenous women's organizations from Burma working on the Thai/Burma border produced this Shadow Report, with support from exiled women's organizations located in India and Bangladesh, and from the Burmese government-in-exile. The report focuses on education, health, State-perpetrated violence against women, and poverty, particularly as these issues relate to women in Burma's rural conflict areas.
Burma's ruling military regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), in its various incarnations, has controlled the country since 1962. One of the SPDC's chief preoccupations since it seized power has been to maintain “national unity and solidarity,” which it has attempted to accomplish through force. In the absence of a popular mandate, the SPDC has had to sink disproportionate amounts of scarce cash into its swelling military in order to maintain control. This budgetary misappropriation, coupled with the long-term civil war, has resulted in a grossly inadequate public infrastructure with sub-standard health care and education systems and widespread poverty. Furthermore, the highly militarized nature of Burmese society has exacerbated the deeply ingrained gender stereotypes about women's subordinate status, and the SPDC has failed to provide leadership to reverse such attitudes.