Yangon - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

This is an incredibly diverse country, but the Bamar (and Buddhist) majority is definitely first among equals. Generally it's an impressive daily display of tolerance and pluralism. The most popular person in the country is a woman, and women hold many positions of respect, but there are still a lot of "male tasks." I drive, for example, and I could count on my fingers the number of other female drivers I see in a month (or maybe a year). - Mar 2019

This country is majority Theravada Buddhists, and many of them are prejudiced against Muslims, so that could be problematic. Gender equality is also an issue, though more among the local populace than in its treatment of Western women. Burmese women are still largely viewed as the weaker sex, and are expected to be compliant, agreeable and deferential to men, and this can be difficult to watch. However, many Burmese men are deferential/accommodating toward Westerners, both male and female, so it's a less obvious dynamic as an expat. - Mar 2017

There's a lot of conflict between the local Buddhist majority and Muslim minority groups. Decades of conflict between Myanmar minority ethnic groups and Bamar majority. - Feb 2017

Problems with radical Buddhists discriminating against Muslims - May 2016

It's rarely a big probelm in the capital and especially not for expats. - May 2016

Not blatantly obvious, but underlying, yes. - May 2016

Within Yangon, it seems rare, but we have indeed heard of problems between Buddhist and Muslims within the city. It is more of a problem outside of the capital though in more remote areas. Although it seems these attacks are sometimes coupled with political reasons. - Apr 2014

Ethnic violence with Muslims. Tensions simmered down but attitudes against Muslims persist. Though if you are a foreigner you are immune. There is a huge double standard for foreigners and you will be treated much better than local Myanmar people. - Feb 2014

Yes. There are many ethnic groups that have rivalries (with one mainly being in power), but the biggest issue I've seen involves the large Burmese population of Indian descent. The Burmese Indians are usually much darker and I've watched racism between both groups directed at the other. They seem to love expats and may politely stare, especially if you're blonde. I've seen 10-15 women stop shopping for 10 minutes to stare at a blonde child. - Jul 2010

Not for expats, there are some prejudices based on the ethnic groups within the country. - Apr 2009

No, expats are treated like royalty out here. - Nov 2008

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