Gender equality and the labor Market in Thailand
According to the study of the Asian Development Bank , “Gender equality and the labor Market: Cambodia, Kazakhstan, and the Philippines” from December 2013, to enhance national growth, countries should promote gender equality in the labour market and provide more employment opportunities for women. Gender inequality in the economy has many causes such as the rate of labor force participation, human capital, unpaid domestic and care work, discrimination of employment between men and woman, vulnerable employment, suitable jobs and social protection.
The constraints on women’s equal participation in the labor market include domestic work and limited access to resources such as education, training or career. To resolve these problems a multi-pronged approach is needed, involving the government and the private sector. For example, using policies to support labor market programs aimed at women, increase the understanding of work to include unpaid work, and reduce discriminatory barriers to women’s participation in the labor market. Moreover, access to more job opportunities for women in many sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, service and entrepreneurship would increase their participation.
Table of Contents
Women labor market in Thailand
Women labor force in Thailand
Traditional gender divisions in Thailand relegate women to the private/household sphere while mainly men participate in the economic and political spheres.
In 2010, the female labor force participation rate of Thai women over the age of 15 years was reported to be around 65% while the male labor force participation rate in 2011 was 80.7%. While the 2010 rate is an increase for women, it does not indicate gender equality in the labor market.
In Thai society there is a saying “สามีเป็นช้างเท้าหน้า ภรรยาเป็นช้างเท้าหลัง” which translates as “it’s a sad house where the hen crows louder than the cock”, referring to the traditional stereotypes of men as leaders and women as followers.
Employment segregation by gender in Thailand
Thailand’s economic structure evolved in the 1960s from agricultural to industrial economy. This lead to increasing demand for un-skilled workers to work in factories. Many Thai workers migrated to cities to work in these factories for a minimum wage.
In 2011, the majority of the Thai female labor force was concentrated in agricultural, wholesale and retail trade and manufacturing sectors. These sectors employed approximately 39.17%, 16.22% and 14.63% of the total female labor force, respectively, in comparison to 69.6%, 8.1% and 2.3%, respectively in 1980. These numbers demonstrate a decreasing proportion of women working in the agricultural sector while an increase in the manufacturing sectors. In addition, many women are employed in informal activities, more specifically in clerical and service occupations.
Gender wage disparity in Thailand
In Thailand, the wage differences between genders is larger when you account for experience premiums: Men with experience would receive higher wages than women with the same experience.
Problems in workplace faced by Thai women workers
Women workers might face a “glass ceiling’’ in the workplace, which limits women’s opportunities to be promoted to higher positions and contributes to the gender wage gap.
Government policies on gender inequality
Thailand has been looking at issues of gender inequality since 1975, when Thailand participated in the United Nations’ Conference women‘s roles in past several decades in 1976. Today, Thailand ranks 69th out of 143 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (GII), with the value of 0.38 especially the labor force participation rate. Economic activity in the GII is measured by the labor force participation rate, which is the proportion of the country’s working-age population that engages in the labor market.
Furthermore, the Thai government and non-governmental organisations have put more effort to addressing gender inequality in the economy by using many policies and programs such as providing more education, training workers, as well as enhancing employment opportunities for women.
- Asian Development Bank. (2013). Gender Equality and the Labor Market: Cambodia, Kazakhstan, and the Philippines. Philippines: Asian Development Bank. http://www.adb.org/prs/node/31167
- WIKIPEDIA, The Free Encyclopedia. (2014, July 1). Gender inequality in Thailand. Retrieved November 27, 2014, from WIKIPEDIA, The Free Encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_inequality_in_Thailand