Thai women come together to review persisting injustice

Thailand has been seen as a country with high economic development; however inequality in society persists and the income gap has become even wider. Data as of 2009 suggest that, 20 percent of the richest people in Thailand earn 11.9 times more than the 20 percent of the poorest. In 2012 it was found that the rich in the country possess 325.7 times more land than the poor. Reviewing government implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPA) has highlighted that the persisting gender discrimination has increased injustice in society for women and this situation is not being well addressed by the government.

The report, coordinated by Foundation for Women and Social Agenda Working Group (Social Watch, Thailand), is a summary from the report of the Thai women’s civil society groups on Beijing +20 review. The review process has provided an opportunity for civil society groups from different sectors, including groups working on issues related to public and private spheres and with diverse groups of women, to come together. They found that some progresses have been made with regard to gender issues, for example on laws and policies regarding violence against women. Contributing factors behind this progress include long-running advocacy for change, campaigns and the participation of women’s non-governmental organizations and grassroots women’s groups. However, there are still some gaps as particular groups of women still face enormous obstacles to gaining protection from violence by laws, measures and services. Ethnic minority and indigenous women, women with disabilities and Muslim women in particular face multiple forms of discrimination.

With regard to the other areas of the BPA, it is found that women have benefitted from progress made in government policies, laws and measures that do not discriminate against women. But there are still gaps and obstacles in the areas of poverty, environment, education and training, media, power and decision-making and the girl child.  The National Machinery on Women is not in a position to effectively mainstream gender and advance the rights of women in these areas. On the issues of women and health and the human rights of women, we have found that the Council of State which is a national mechanism responsible for laws development and formation is an obstacle. The government draft bill on Reproductive Health initiated in 2006 was disapproved by the Council of State. The key article of the government’s draft bill on the definition of Gender Equality was amended by the Council of State; as a result the draft does not comply with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Therefore they want to highlight the crucial role of the Intuitional Mechanism for the Advancement of Women as this is a key area that will guarantee accountability and commitment of all states to the BPA; and they urge the Thai government to reform the national machinery for the advancement of women and urgently take action that will lead to the full achievement and implementation of the BPA.

Download the Report here.

Source: Social Agenda Working Group (Social Watch, Thailand)