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Manel Exhibition: Where Are the Women?

17 October, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 29 October, 2023 @ 8:00 pm

Women’s voices continue to be underrepresented, if not denied, in government institutions and processes and in the public and academic arena. In spite of significant progress in fostering gender equity globally, patriarchal norms remain deeply entrenched in society and continue to manifest themselves in multiple forms. One of these seemingly innocuous, but actually pernicious form, is the proliferation of “manels”, i.e all-male panels, and their denial of women as subject-matter experts. Manels also fail to communicate how important diversity is for the quality of conversations and for creating spaces for engagement and innovation between different angles and viewpoints. Interestingly while in the “real” word there had been a growing awareness of the importance of diversifying panels, during the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a reprise and deluge of all-male panels in webinairs as if the voice of male experts in a time of crisis would be more reassuring, but principally because women were overburdened with increased care responsibility at home.

Women activists from Myanmar were particularly struck that manels persisted in the pro-democracy movement fighting against dictatorship in spite of the promises of gender equity and social inclusiveness for the New Burma. And this, often with the support of international organizations claiming to be promoting human rights and spreading democracy. In their view, all-male panels prevent pluralism and healthy debates that are critical to a democratic society, while perpetuating patriarchy and gender-based discrimination, and there needs to be a conscious effort to raise this issue and bring change in current practices. Since November 2020, Sawleen Institute (SI)’s Executive Director started to collect documentation of manels involving organizations from Myanmar, which eventually resulted in the first #Manels Exhibition in Chiang Mai in March 2023. Organized by the Women League of Burma (WLB) and SI the exhibition displayed a collection of manel events and highlighted manelists, manel organizers and donors or funders who supported those events. The exhibition also showcased quotes or excuses used to justify organizing manels. The exhibition received positive feedback from the audience and triggered conversations within Burma’s democracy movement on how the issues of inclusiveness should be tacked.

To continue this important discussion and broaden it to a more general public, WLB and SI in collaboration with SEA Junction will hold the 2nd #Manels Exhibition with the sub-title “A (p)manel a day keeps democracy away” on 17-29 October at the 4th floor of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center (BACC). Besides displaying an updated version of the previously presented collection, this exhibition will also feature a selection of manels in other countries of Southeast Asia to point that is not an issue only pertinent to Myanmar has it occurs also in Thailand, across the region and globally. In addition, the exhibition will also showcase artworks including paintings, illustrations, and cartoons that relate to the topic and an interactive corner to engage exhibition participants. Information about the opening event, will be provided shortly.


For more information, please email: info@seajunction.org or phone/wa: +66970024140

NB: SEA Junction events are free, but donation most welcome!



SEA Junction

SEA Junction, established under the Thai non-profit organization Foundation for Southeast Asia Studies (ForSEA), aims to foster understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asia in all its socio-cultural dimensions, from arts and lifestyles to economy and development. Conveniently located at Room 407-8 of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center or BACC (across MBK, BTS National Stadium), SEA Junction facilitates public access to knowledge resources and exchanges among students, practitioners and Southeast Asia lovers. For more information please see www.seajunction.org, join the Facebook group:  http://www.facebook.com/groups/1693058870976440/ and/or follow us on Twitter and Instagram @seajunction.

Women’s League of Burma (WLB)

WLB was established in 1999 with the aim of increasing the participation of women in the struggle for democracy and human rights, promoting women’s participation in the national peace and reconciliation process, and enhancing the role of the women of Burma at the national and international level. For more information please see www.womenofburma.org

The Salween Institute (SI) for Public Policy

SI aims to develop practical policy options to tackle complex socio-economic and political challenges affecting the peoples of Myanmar and to equip the diverse communities of the country with the information and tools to constructively participate in public policymaking impacting their lives. For more information please see https://www.salweeninstitute.org.


17 October, 2023 @ 10:00 am
29 October, 2023 @ 8:00 pm
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