International Women’s Day 2019
For the International Women’s Day 2019 Mad Monkey Thailand interviewed many of its female employees to learn about how they feel about being a woman in Thailand. We asked them about what makes them feel strong, what they think about gender equality in Thailand, and how they think it can improve.
International Women’s Day 2019 – Mad Monkey Bangkok
At Mad Monkey Bangkok we conducted an in-depth interview with one of our receptionists, Nicha. Her responses gave us a bit more insight into the minds of women in Thailand. They also aligned almost exactly with UNWomen.org’s summary of women’s equality in Thailand, as you’ll read below in this article.
Q: What is your name, where are you from, and what do you do for Mad Monkey?
A: My name is Nicha. I am from Prachuap Khiri Khan province, which is in the south of Thailand. I am a receptionist here at Mad Monkey Bangkok.
Q: How long have you worked at Mad Monkey Bangkok and what is your favorite part of your job?
A: I have worked for Mad Monkey Bangkok for 9 months. The part of my job that I love is check-in because I can speak with new people and I can make them happy to stay with us. I enjoy talking to them because most of them are very nice and they are happy to be in Thailand.
Q: How do you feel about women’s equality in Thailand?
A: It seems like it’s equal but it’s not that equal. For example when women go into a bar they are looked down upon as if they are a “bad girl.” But if a guy goes into a bar it’s fine and there is no negative stigma for them. Another example is cigarettes. If women smoke cigarettes in Thailand it’s frowned upon but if a man smokes a cigarette in Thailand there are no negative feelings toward it.
Q: Do you feel like men and women are treated equally in Thailand?
A: In my family, yes, I feel like we are treated equally. However there are some more traditional families with values that put men over women in many situations. These families don’t care as much about the women and think that the men are the ones who should be working and making money while the woman takes care of the family.
Q: How can Thailand improve on women’s equality?
A: I think Thailand needs to be more open about offering women bigger opportunities. For example, in a professional setting women are not afforded the same progression as men because they are not considered for promotions at work as often. When men and women have the same opportunities for education and work they will be more equal. This may be difficult for Thailand. It is a very big country and a lot of the people outside of Bangkok have traditional viewpoints.
Q: Why should women come to Thailand?
A: Because Thailand has many friendly people and also beautiful places so that’s why you need to come to Thailand!
Nicha wanted to make it clear that Thailand does not currently have full equality for women yet but she believes overall that the country’s equality is better than other countries. She mentioned how both men and women are able to be themselves in Thailand and that women are allowed do the same as men. It’s more of a matter of being given the opportunity.
International Women’s Day 2019 – Mad Monkey Koh Phangan
At Mad Monkey Koh Phangan we asked each female member of staff what makes them feel strong as a woman. These were their responses:
Nanda: It makes me feel strong that I provide my family with the monkey I get [from working on Koh Phangan].
Sofie: I came to this company as a 20-year-old girl with no confidence. After working here for two and a half months and meeting with other women working for this company, they have made me more confident and I feel so empowered and strong after working with them.
Mam: I feel strong by sending money to my family [who live outside of Koh Phangan]. I have an opportunity to support my family.
Annah: I have to work and fight for money for my family. I live on [Koh Phangan] but my children are living in the north of Thailand. I had to move to get them money.
Mirjam: Working in a team with a lot of men has taught me that as a woman I can be equally strong and empowered. Having to take a lot of responsibility and face new challenges in my work has made me feel strong and confident.
History on Women’s Equality in Thailand
Thailand’s true beginning of women’s equality began in 1985 with the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This convention has been supported by new legislation over time. This includes efforts to integrate the international principles and instruments into policy.
According to UNWomen.org, challenges in gender equality and the empowerment of women in Thailand remain in the areas of lack of sex disaggregated data, traditional attitudes and stereotypes which underpin domestic violence and violence against women, low participation of women in politics and decision-making positions, discrimination and vulnerabilities of ethnic and rural women as well as women in the informal sector, HIV prevalence, trafficking and exploitation. Thailand ranks 69 in the Gender Inequality Index as of 2011.
Many of these points and Thailand’s ranking fit nearly perfectly with what Nicha told us in her interview. While Thailand does not yet offer true equality for women, it – like many other countries – is putting in effort to get there.
More information about International Women’s Day and Women’s Equality:
Looking for more information about International Women’s Day and Women’s Equality? Check out these awesome links!
- Asia and the Pacific – Thailand from UN Women
- International Women’s Day from International Womens Day
- Thailand Celebrates International Women’s Day from Urban Thai
- International Women’s Day 2019: Our round-up of some badass Thai women from Coconuts Bangkok