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Three cartoonists have won top awards at a cartoon competition in Myanmar on the occasion of the 2016 International Women’s Day. The competition aims at raising awareness about issues such as women and health, violence against women, and women and emergencies.

Top winners – Tun Tun Win, Sithu Swe and Wai Yan (Taunggyi) – were presented with first, second and third prizes, along with the other eight cartoonists, who were awarded with consolation prizes during the awards ceremony held in Yangon on 7 March.

Tun Tun Win said, while he was proud to be the first prize winner, he was also happy to have a chance to contribute in stopping violence against women, “an issue prevalent in Myanmar”.

Sithu Swe, the second prize winner, highlighted the need for more awareness-raising about women protection, saying, “We don’t usually understand the magnitude of the gender issues until we experience something on our own. I am happy to be part of the efforts to draw attention to these issues.”

Cartoonist Maung Maung Aung, part of the jury, said that the competition served as an effective tool to raise awareness about gender issues in a traditional society like Myanmar, adding, “I also learned a lot about women protection issues by looking at the cartoons and listening to other jury members’ comments.”

“I didn’t expect to see many good cartoons. But some of them were really good, effectively reflecting different issues relating to the themes,” Maung Maung Aung said.

The competition – jointly organised by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Association Francois-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Myanmar and the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) – saw 241 submissions. These were evaluated by a jury made up of popular cartoonists as well as representatives from DSW, UNFPA, UN Women, FXB, Gender Equality Network and Mizzima Media Group.

As part of the event, a cartoon exhibition was also organized, featuring the best 61 cartoons, including the winning ones. Three cartoonists on the jury, Maung Maung Aung, Thein Tun Oo and Tar Yar, also contributed to the exhibition.

The cartoons will also be exhibited at the union event to mark the International Women’s Day in Nay Pyi Taw.

First Prize Winner (By Tun Tun Win): The cartoon depicts that awareness and legal framework are preconditions for safety and security of women and girls. Different forms of violence (represented by the mosquito) are unlikely to take place when women and girls have awareness and access to legal services.


Second Prize Winner (By Sithu Swe): This cartoon reflects the risks associated with online chatting, currently popular among young people. Risks such as exploitation and abuse are unforeseeable.


Third Prize Winner (By Wai Yan (Taunggyi)): This cartoon is a satirical sketch about the silence and impunity surrounding gender based violence. The man, beating his wife, says, “I can teach my wife a lesson as I like” while the lawyer and the police officer believes, “It’s not polite to intervene in husband-wife issues”.