UNDP Shows Gender Equality Still Lags in Thailand

Thailand still scores lacklustre points when it comes to gender equality, according to the latest UNDP Human Development report.

The report, released early this month, said this was partly because of the low number of women in Parliament, just 12 at present, and the low number of women who finish secondary education ��” only one in four (26 per cent).

“National parliamentary representation, which reflects women’s visibility in political leadership and in society more generally, has been increasing over time ��” though the global average is still only 16 per cent,” the report stated. It noted that in 2008, Rwanda’s Chamber of Deputies became the first parliament in the world to have a female majority.

Six East Asian countries, Thailand included, fall in the lower half of the global scale on gender equality, the United Nations Development Programme report stated. The top-ranked nation was the Netherlands.

“The Netherlands tops the list as the closest to gender equality, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland,” the report stated. “The Netherlands has very low maternal mortality, has among the world’s lowest adolescent fertility rate, and is close to parity in educational attainment.”

Qatar scored lowest, while such countries as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Yemen are farthest from parity in their Human Development Index groups.

The report said there were immeasurable factors such as how many women around the world have the additional burden of care-giving and housekeeping, “which cut into their leisure time and increase stress and exhaustion”.

Data about economic assets owned by women, either solely or co-owned, were also not widely available.

Another issue not included in the report because of data constraints was violence against women.

“Violence against women is sadly very prevalent, but not documented in an internationally comparable way,” it said.

But the World Health Organisation estimated that the ratio of women who had experienced physical sexual violence was as high as 71 per cent in some countries.


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