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IWD 2019: The woman who inspired me

To celebrate International Women's Day 2019, Dr Thinn Thinn Hlaing highlights the woman who inspired her most, Burmese politician and diplomat Daw Khin Kyi.

Of all the amazing women I have come across, Daw Khin Kyi, the wife of our national hero Aung San has always inspired me.

Daw Khin Kyi was one of 10 children from Irrawaddy delta region called Maungmya. She was a trained nurse and met Aung San when he was admitted to the hospital. The pair subsequently got married and had four children. Five years into their marriage, on the 19th July 1947, Aung San was assassinated, and from all the accounts I have read about her, she stood as a rock for all her children at the time of her husband’s death.

[Daw Khin Kyi] showed bravery and independent character, something which was not very usual for the woman of her time.

Dr Thinn Thinn Hlaing, consultant chemical pathologist, Grand Hantha International Hospital

Later, she stepped out of her comfort zone as a nurse and took on new leadership roles such as the director of the National Women and Children’s Welfare board, as well as Burma’s first minister of social welfare, and was later on appointed as Myanmar’s first woman ambassador to India. Daw Khin Kyi dedicated 20 years to public service for the country, and worked on many human rights issues for Burmese people at that time.

I have never met her in person, but the reason she inspired me was that she played her part – a widow of the national hero, a mother and a career diplomatic woman - exceedingly well against all the challenges thrown at her. She showed bravery and independent character, something which was not very usual for the woman of her time.

I think that not enough credit or glory has been given against Daw Khin Kyi’s name compared to her husband, but without a doubt that she deserved to be acknowledged for her dedication to her children, and her support to the cause of her husband and the nation.

With her story, I would like to encourage every Myanmar women to be independent and strive hardest to advocate the leaders to create regulations to protect women’s rights and for the advancement of women representation in essential reform process of our country. 

Dr. Thinn Thinn Hlaing is a consultant chemical pathologist at the Grand Hantha International Hospital, Myanmar, and an honorary lecturer at the University of Medicine, Yangon.

This blog is part of a week-long series celebrating women in medicine and their inspirations, as part of International Women's Day.