U.N. Chastises Thai Male Dominance

In a report issued just days before national elections, the United Nations has urged Thailand to raise the number of women in politics and civil service, chastising the country’s “cultural and traditional prejudices of a male-dominated society.” Thailand will fail to meet its own ambitious goal to double the proportion of women in government. The report blames unflinching attitudes of men for the lack of progress. Gender equality is third on the list of U.N. Millennium Development Goals. In some places, however, married women are just now being allowed to own land, female fetuses are aborted and women do not get maternity leave.
Thai women make up only 10 percent of the outgoing parliament, placing the country 113th out of 185 countries. Only Cambodia, Malaysia and Japan rank below Thailand in East and Southeast Asia, the report said. Dr. Juree Vichit-Vadakarn, the report’s lead author, was quoted as saying that a major shift in attitude among men are needed for gender equality in politics. Other than urging the country to set a timeline for recruiting more women, the report was short on how to effect that change.

[The report will likely receive little attention despite an article about it in the Bangkok Post especially during an unprecedented mobilization to oust deeply entrenched Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.]

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