Govt promotes gender equality
Women to help with post-Covid recovery
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has pledged to promote gender equality and help women realise their full potential as leaders, acknowledging women play a key role in economic and social development.
He made the pledge on Thursday while presiding over the opening ceremony for the three-day Global Summit of Women (GSW) 2022 in Bangkok.
GSW is touted as a major global economic forum for women leaders. The event was attended by about 650 delegates from 52 countries.
During his speech, Gen Prayut said the event will offer a good opportunity for Thailand to learn great things from women leaders from around the world.
He said the government is pressing ahead with efforts to develop the country in all dimensions, including by promoting gender equality.
The government supports efforts to create an environment to help women reach their full potential, with plans to empower the particularly vulnerable, he said.
"This is to drive home the message that equality is a desirable goal of society," he said, adding that women play a greater role in propelling the economy forward as consumers and manufacturers.
For example, he said, the government has promoted the role of women in the deep South to drive the local economy and bring peace to the strife-torn region.
Budgets have also been allocated to promote careers, knowledge-building and identifying markets for products made by women, he said.
Local women also serve as community defence volunteers who have encouraged people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, he said.
The government has also promoted the empowerment of women in the business and economic sectors, regionally and internationally, he said, adding they have access to learning and skill-development initiatives for the digital age.
However, the government has realised that some women do not have equal access to opportunities, so it is trying its best to help them, he said.
"We have been witnessing the increasing role of women in society," he said. "We, as the government, have always been pushing forward to ensure their presence, rights and participation in their communities."
At the regional level, he said women's plight has also been an issue being addressed by Asean to increase capacity in every dimension, he said.
"As we are hosting Apec Summit this year, women and other [members] of vulnerable groups are also at the centre of our agenda to ensure that our sustainable development will leave no one behind," Gen Prayut said.
Irene Natividad, President of the GSW, during a press conference said the event focuses on finding solutions in a world bombarded with a series of problems, from the pandemic to climate change to hyperinflations.
"We should pay attention because uncertainties make lives very difficult," she said, adding women can be a source of solutions in a post-pandemic world.
"Before the pandemic, women made up almost half of the global workforce," she said, referring to their potential to contribute to the economy.
"Not just the paid workforce that you can count but also the informal work that they do to make extra income."
Korbkarn Wattanavrangkul, former tourism minister and chair of the Thai host committee for GSW 2022, said the kingdom took two to three years to prepare for the event.
Ms Korbkarn said despite global problems, it is important to look forward.
"There is no right or wrong, it depends on how we apply [solutions]," she said. "I hope the [event's] outcome will be beneficial."
"We need to go hand-in-hand and believe in each other," she said. "We have to create the policy, give confidence and [encouragement] to the private sector, especially in the period we are facing now -- a new reality with an unstable future."
Vo Thi Anh Xuan, Vice President of Vietnam, said that although women have important roles in the development of countries, they were hit the hardest by world conflicts and the pandemic.
Some have lost their jobs and were subjected to violence, she said, adding that some are lagging behind.
"Nonetheless, if we can together change our mindset and [behaviour], these difficulties and challenges can completely be transformed into opportunities, as the post-pandemic world is quickly moving toward recovery and growth," she said.
- gender equality