Kayah State has faced prolonged conflict for the past six decades. The conflict has affected all the people of Kayah, though the nature and extent of the impact varies by age, gender and class. Caught between the ethnic armed groups and military and brutalized by both, the people of Kayah have struggled to survive. The conflict has further restricted the mobility of an already isolated people. This lack of mobility has affected every aspect of their lives including livelihood, access to education and markets, and religious and social networks. Women's mobility is more restricted than that of men, and the different levels of mobility have in turn led to different strategies to survive the conflict. While men can leave the area for work and education, women cannot. Staying in the conflict zone increases both their vulnerability and isolation. The increased isolation affects their position within the family and community, as they have less confidence, voice and decision‐making power. Women use silence and submissiveness to escape from both the military and the ethnic armed groups. However, such strategies, in the long term, continue to perpetuate women's subordinate position in society. They also reinforce women's powerlessness and maintain the current power structures and hierarchies.

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