Awareness of Gender Equality in Preparation for the ASEAN Community

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The Government is attaching great importance to promoting gender equality, as part of its campaign to increase the public’s awareness of the ASEAN Community.

Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Sansanee Nakpong stressed the need for Thai people to learn more about ASEAN countries in various dimensions, such as culture, language, and society.

She said that the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on November 19 agreed to adopt the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. Thailand believes that the declaration will help develop this region immensely, as it calls for the promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms of every person.

She said that Thailand has been working actively to promote the rights of women and children and eliminate violence against them. Apart from developing children, great efforts have been made to promote gender equality and provide more opportunities for women.

Minister Sansanee quoted the current 11th National Economic and Social Development Plan, 2012-2016, that seeks to improve attitudes toward gender equality in children, youth, and the populace. Cooperation is needed among institutions, particularly the family, educational and religious institutions, and the media, to foster values and attitudes that would advance gender equality. More opportunities should be given to women for career advancement toward managerial and decision-making positions at both local and national levels in the public and private sectors. This can be accomplished by strengthening the potential of women.

She said that the Government had set up the National Development Fund for Women to promote women’s roles in Thai society. The fund is among the projects to prepare Thai women for the ASEAN Community. It provides a revolving funding source for women to borrow from with low interest or without interest. The money will be used to develop their occupations, generate employment and income, promote their welfare, ease their problems, and enhance the potential of women’s networks.

According to Minister Sansanee, much progress has been made for the implementation of the National Development Fund for Women, chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Committees for the women’s development funds at provincial and subdistrict levels have also been formed.

Small provinces, with a population of less than 450,000, will be provided with 70 million baht each by the Government to operate the fund. Medium-size provinces, with more than 450,000 people but not over 900,000 people, will receive 100 million baht each. Large provinces, with a population of over 900,000, will receive 130 million baht each.

By RADIO THAILAND