Oppression of female labour in Thailand
- In the past, employment in Thailand was mostly concentrated in the agricultural sector due to the main mode of production. Later, industries progressively reduced the role of agriculture, which was coupled with an increasing number of young women entering the labour market and an increasing proportion of male, female and youth moving from the rural to the urban areas, which determined the type of employment they were doing. Although women moved progressively from their traditional roles to a more active contribution to the economy of the country, their rights were not equally respected: cultural disparities between women and men, the exploitation of women workers, insecurity at work, injustice in the workplace, sexual harassment by male workers and supervisors in the workplace, all of these were considered as oppressing women at work. The oppression of women can be classified into 4 categories as described below.
Table of Contents
The Social Oppression
- Although more women have now entered the labour market, figures show that the proportion of men aged 15 years and over who are the employed in the labour market is higher (20.86 million) than the proportion of women (17.41 million), which indicates that men’s employment is still more valued than women’s employment. The results of the Labour Force Survey.,National Statistical Office, May 2012 This is also reflected at the top level, where men are usually chosen over women when it comes to managing or representing companies. As a result, women do not enjoy equality and social justice; on the opposite, they experience restricted freedom and rights in Thai society. Working women are seen as having limited capabilities and are often seen as weak, with a lower potential than men. Most people in Thailand still believe in the value that women should continue to play a central role in the family rather than working outside of the household.
The Sexual Oppression
- Although Thailand is protecting women from sexual harassment via the Labour Protection Act (Section 16), women continue to be sexually abused by employers or colleagues in the workplace. This is rooted in the social inequality between the sexes and the unequal social opportunities for women and men in Thai society, especially in terms of career advancement. Women continue to be verbally and physically abused in the workplace. Women also face risks when travelling from home to work at night time. The problem of sexual oppression is sometimes triggered by the employer or the supervisor: for example women are sexually harassed when they would like to be promoted, as a supervisor can threaten the employee to have sex in exchange for a higher position. Example of news about oppession of female labour in Thailand.,Bangkokbiz Publishing house Such social problems in the workplace have still not been resolved in Thailand. Moreover, women who face such oppression by the employer tend to not consult with anyone else and do not complain about the situation, as they are afraid about the consequences such as unemployment or worse working conditions. In the case that women decide to complain, they are not always heard and believed; in some cases they are even blamed for their provocative attitude leading to such bad behaviour by the employer. Women therefore still face difficulties in dealing with this issue of sexual harassment and gender-based violence at work in Thaialnd and it is a social issue that needs resolving.
Oppression of Labour
- The industrial sector accounts for 13.6% of the labour force and represents 39% of the GDP, Index of labour force in Thai economy.,Bank of Thailand , which is the highest contributing sector to the Thai economy. So the question is about the working conditions and the wages in the industrial sector. From the research “Working Conditions of Workers Producing Electronic Components” of Pachanee Khumnak, Example of book., Thai Labour Campaign we know that “Most of electronics factories employ women because women have the patience to do work involving many complicated processes. The wage rate for such work for women is based on the minimum wage, which is not enough to enjoy a good living standard. Workers must work additionally four hours overtime, making up to 12 hours working hours per day.” According to the 1998 Labour Protection Act, Section 23, “Employers cannot hire workers at more than 8 hours, unless the employee consents.” Still, many factories have semi-forced their employees to work overtime. For example the contract specifies that employees are required to work overtime, and the pressure resulting from the minimum wage means that workers have to stay overtime so they can earn enough to sustain everyday living costs. Furthermore, most women have to tolerate working conditions that are more than 8 hours, which also affects their health.
- Education is one of the factors that determine wages, and women are the majority of workers in the industrial sector of Thailand. The education level of workers in this group corresponds to secondary level or below, which means that these workers have no chance of career advancement. Most factories recruit women at Bachelor degree level. Workers have little chance of moving up to higher levels or to receive higher wages. Although corporate profits will rise from the company and the value of the export level of Thailand’s GDP will also rise , increased spending does not benefit the working class to improve their standard of living.
Oppression Welfare in Work
- Many female workers face unfair employment legislation, for example if the employer claims labour protection laws, in case he needs to close the company. According to the Labor Protection Act, Section 75, “If the employer requires the employee to stop working temporarily, he must pay 75 percent of the wages corresponding to the working days of the employee. The employers must notify the employee 3 days in advance.”Labour law.,Department of Labour Protection and Welfare
- According to section 75 of the Labor Protection Law, the employer can ask the workers to stop working temporarily and pay them only half of their daily wage, for example in times of economic crisis. When the workers are asked to stop working for a long time, they usually resign since they do not have enough money to live and they do not receive any compensation. This enables the employer to reduce the manufacturing and workforce costs. Meanwhile, such action can break the bargaining power of unions and employees by default. This also applies in the case of termination without paying compensation to women who are not unionised. So the workers often demonstrate to demand more fairness and equality.
All these four types of oppression of female labour described above are only one part of the real issue. Although these problems concern especially one group of people – women -, it is essential to focus on creating better working conditions for women to foster the economy of the country. The government needs to solve these problems seriously to raise the standard of living of women workers and so that the country develops in a sustainable way.
- Gender Equality and Decent Work
- Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
- Wage Gaps Between Men and Women
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Harassment Legislation
- Sexual Harassment at the Workplace
Occupational Safety and Health Bureau, Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, Thailand
Group 3Poster The members of ECS 485 Group 3 are:
- Mr.Junlanun Watthong
- Miss Chawala Muthaporn
- Miss Phunjaporn Sangpo
- Miss Aimmika Dumrod
- Miss Kopkamon Khawkomon
- Miss Nicharee Benjapraguyrat
- Miss Sarusnand Lorkittinand
- Miss Sirikorn Sootsukon