Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with a population of 69 million. Thailand has made significant progress in development over the past three decades having seen the poverty incidence decreased to of 8% in 2009 and significant improvements in health, education and social services. Amidst the rapid growth, Thailand faces socio-economic inequalities, widening income gaps, uneven development between urban and rural areas, and unequal access to resources and social services. As the richest quartile in Thailand makes about half of the income, the lowest quartile garnered less than 10% of the income.
Thailand ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1985 and its Optional Protocol in 2000, and endorsed the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Thailand has developed the Millennium Development Goals Plus, with the spirit of treating the MDGs as the floor and not the ceiling. Thailand has made significant efforts to integrate the international principles and instruments into the policy and programming framework, evident in the Constitution B.E. 2550 (2007), which has anti sex discrimination and gender equality provisions. The Protection of Domestic Violence Victim Act was promulgated in 2007, and the penal codes and sex discriminated laws have largely been revised.
Challenges in gender equality and the empowerment of women in Thailand remain in the areas of lack of sex disaggregated data, traditional attitudes and stereotypes which underpin domestic violence and violence against women, low participation of women in politics and decision-making positions, discrimination and vulnerabilities of ethnic and rural women as well as women in the informal sector, HIV prevalence, trafficking and exploitation. Thailand ranks 69 in the Gender Inequality Index as of 2011.
The Office of Women’s Affairs and Family Development, of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, is the national women’s machinery responsible for promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. It serves as a secretariat of the National Inter-ministerial Committee on Policy and Strategy for the Improvement of the Status of Women, chaired by the Prime Minister and develops. The Office implements a five-year cycled National Women’s Development Plans, which currently falls under the period of 2012-2016.
UN Women works in partnership with the Government of Thailand and civil society partners to realize national goals and international commitments on gender equality and the empowerment of women. Our work is in the following areas: