Jump to content
BANGKOK 18 April 2019 19:17
webfact

Thai politics is a man’s world. How can we change that? 

Recommended Posts

Thai politics is a man’s world. How can we change that? 

By Kornrawee Panyasuppakun  
The Nation

 

opinion1.jpg

 

Former MP Arja Alho offers lessons from a pioneer of political gender equality  

 

Despite making up just over half Thailand’s population, women have almost disappeared entirely from political decision-making under the junta. When the military ousted the country’s first female prime minister in 2014, women occupied 15.8 per cent of seats in Parliament. Now female lawmakers account for less than 5 per cent of seats in the National Assembly, the lowest in Asia and one of the lowest in the world.      

 

On a recent visit to Thailand, former Finland MP Arja Alho offered lessons on how to boost gender equality in politics from a country where women occupy over 40 per cent of parliament. Alho, a 64-year-old political veteran, talked to The Nation’s Kornrawee Panyasuppakun.

 

How did you get into politics?

 

I graduated as a nurse and ran the organisation of student nurses. This led to my being nominated as a candidate for parliament and I was elected in 1983. At 28, I was considered a young MP at that time. I think the reason I was elected was that students were on my side – so were the nurses. They wanted their voices to be heard.

 

After three decades in politics, how do you see women’s political participation in Finland?

 

Just now we have slightly over 40 per cent female parliamentarians. When I was elected it was below 30. The reason [for the rise] is that political parties noticed it is an advantage to have women as candidates. Half of the population are women and young women want to vote for someone who know what it is like to be a student or a young person. So, if you are a female politician, then of course you get support from the women. 

 

So has equality been achieved in Finland?

 

The stereotype [of women] still exists in Finland. It is very difficult for a woman to be considered a serious politician who really knows what she is talking about and has the capacity to lead. People expect women in parliament to cast votes but then sit still and let the men take care of things.

 

Also women are expected to be the moral ones because every female parliamentarian is representing both her gender and herself. It is a double burden because you have to be hard-working, moral, beautiful, a mother, and have a career. You have to be everything, and it is not possible. And you do also make mistakes. But I don’t say you should not try, but you have to be ready to forgive yourself.

 

What advice would you give to any woman who lacks the self-confidence to get into politics?

 

I think it is important that you start training in a smaller circle, like a school board, NGO, civil society activism, or municipal [politics]. What really helped me was being elected to the Helsinki city council. There I could see how decisions are made and what is it like to be a politician, and that gives you self-confidence. You also get a network and contacts. This is the process.

 

Are gender quotas a good idea?

 

Finland has a Gender Equality Act which says that in every committee or municipality, you need at least 40 per cent women. 

 

[Of course] it is up to people whom they vote for. But in practice, the 40 per cent recommendation is effective in that political parties have to select more women candidates. 

 

In fact, some parties have a majority of candidates as women but there are also very male-dominated parties who don’t follow this recommendation. If you want to change the attitude and the system fast, quotas are excellent. It is often said that it’s impossible to find many women who are competent, but it is not. In many countries Thailand included, women are resources that are utilised very little. With more women in power, you win because you get more expertise, more variety of views. Finland has a network called the Coalition of Finnish Women Association in parliament.

 

What about Thailand? What challenges and what potential do we have, in your view?

 

I think Thailand has huge potential. I know that tradition is very strong here because you value family life highly, but it is not your husband’s right to decide on your career or whom you vote for. The choice is yours. [But] Thailand has a problem with democracy. In a democracy, everyone has the right to vote and no one is excluded. Equality in making political choices also favours women. If you don’t have a democratic system, those in power will very often make decisions on whom they accept, and then there is a discrepancy.

 

Why do we need female politicians in the first place?

 

For society, women have enormous resources of expertise and talent. It is crazy to exclude those resources. And for women it is important that legislation is fair and understanding of the lives of women and children. Birth control is one example. [Or] think about women in the police force. I know that in Thailand women will no longer be accepted into the police academy. This is terrible because women realise what is it to be treated violently, and can support the victims. That’s why it is important that there are different kinds of people in the police force.

 

Any advice for young women who want a political career?

 

It is a question of self-confidence. Don’t think you don’t have the capacity. When you are in demanding posts, then you grow with them. It takes a lot but it gives more. I would say you just have to stand up for your rights.

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/opinion/30366193

 

thenation_logo.jpg

-- © Copyright The Nation 2019-03-21

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surgery !!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could start by closing down the brothels and girlie bars in the country and show one another that you respect women.

 

But that’s never going to happen, so here you are.

  • Like 2
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

start with female generals. they'll have much higher chances to rule the country than being elected. just wait for a "bad" government and bam! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, dcnx said:

You could start by closing down the brothels and girlie bars in the country and show one another that you respect women.

 

But that’s never going to happen, so here you are.

Most girls and women work in these places because they chose to work there. Most of them make a lot more money then they could make in any other job. They can work for 300B a day in a factory or for 3000B a night in a bar. It's a big opportunity for many of them. That includes bringing wealth to their families.

 

And if they are treated with respect depend a lot on their bosses and customers. It is not necessary to disrespect them. I met lots of nice girls in bars - and I treated them accordingly.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Women have the opportunity to work in politics. We have lots of female politicians (in Thailand and around the world).

If they convince us they are competent then we will vote for them.

And as we all know in Thailand people even vote for incompetent little sister.

 

Men are not complaining that there are more female nurses or midwifes or maids or waitresses.

Men and women have often different interests. It's not that one or the other is better or worse. They are different.

People have choices and successful people make it to the top. What's wrong with that?

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, OneMoreFarang said:

Women have the opportunity to work in politics. We have lots of female politicians (in Thailand and around the world).

If they convince us they are competent then we will vote for them.

And as we all know in Thailand people even vote for incompetent little sister.

 

Men are not complaining that there are more female nurses or midwifes or maids or waitresses.

Men and women have often different interests. It's not that one or the other is better or worse. They are different.

People have choices and successful people make it to the top. What's wrong with that?

Totally agree and let me add to that to make it to the top it requires a lot of secrifices (extreme long hours, risk taking, neglecting your own health, neglecting family life, etc), something men are more willing to do than women on average mostly because men are motivated by competing with other men over their yearly income while women are more sensible and often value family and relationships more.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thailand in general is a "man's world"; and, has been for a very long time. Are things changing? Yes; but, not significantly.  The one shining example of that is Yingluck.  She rose to the top mostly on the coattails of her brother; but, in the end even he couldn't keep the good ole boy society from having her ousted (actually even the same was true for him).  Old money and the military rule Thailand.  Anyone who has been around a woman of power (business or political) knows they can be ruthless.  In a man's political world their picture needs to be next to the definition of ruthless.  Thailand needs to be careful what they ask for, just look at some of the female politicians in the U.S. for a shining example of what is lurking around the corner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why would we want to change it? In fact it's the reason many older ex-pats like it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

2 hours ago, irwinfc said:

start with female generals. they'll have much higher chances to rule the country than being elected. just wait for a "bad" government and bam! 

One did get elected though.

 

It took the most corrupt politician in the country (his Democrat party colleagues' words, not mine), colluding with the military to get rid of her.

 

As women cannot advance past a certain rank in the Police or military, that idea is a pipe-dream, unfortunately. 

 

It's called small-dick-syndrome.

  • Like 1
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How many female brick layers are there?

 

Or female waste collectors?

 

(please note, 'b' & not 'p'. ) :laugh:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, OneMoreFarang said:

Most girls and women work in these places because they chose to work there. Most of them make a lot more money then they could make in any other job. They can work for 300B a day in a factory or for 3000B a night in a bar. It's a big opportunity for many of them. That includes bringing wealth to their families.

 

And if they are treated with respect depend a lot on their bosses and customers. It is not necessary to disrespect them. I met lots of nice girls in bars - and I treated them accordingly.

They work in those places because they have to.

 

Don't kid yourself, as I used to, that they are there because they enjoy it. 

 

Of course, that's what they have to tell the Western customers, and the customers don't have a clue and don't speak Thai so they lap it up because they don't want to believe their own reality of paying for sex from a prostitute, or the reality of the prostitute's life on the game. Much the same as "I only work cashier" and "I don't go with customer".

 

If you think they can trouser 3000thb a night then you are way off the mark. A small percentage may but the vast majority are getting 1000thb st and paying off massive debts, drug habits, pimp / boyfriend etc, etc, etc and won't see much return on that money let alone be living a decent life or being able to save. 

 

It's a hard life and 99% of them would rather have a proper education but it's too late for that.

 

Would they rather work on a construction site for minimum wage? Debatable but I often see much prettier girls working there than in farang girlie bars.

  • Like 1
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

it's not a "man's world" anywhere, anymore.  unless you mean girlie men.  thanks to mass media. 

this is why Paul Volcker had to limit his comment during a recent interview by Ray Dalio to simply 'we killed the younger generation'.  this is why Alan Greenspan, another USA central bank chairman who followed Volcker, said under his breath but clearly audible that one of the biggest underlying factors in a presentation on stagflation [also on Youtube] back in 2015 or so was that board's were not voting for long term projects because of Climate Change.  enter Trump.  that same year.  a man and family that owns casinos, golf resorts and hotels with "carbon" written all over them.  and he does know what is what but also how to talk on TV and Twitter.

just as we entered the 2015/2016 El Nino that we pray we never revisit more intensely at all.

this is why we can only talk one sentence at a time publicly at all on this.  other examples Ian Bremmer in a very recent interview encapsulated the whole deal with almost the exact same words Manual Macron did on 60 Minutes.  "a billion".  it ain't gonna be only one billion.  nor will it mostly be poor brown people.  not at all.  that along with "Mexican Rapists" instead of Climate refugees... and Chinese Hoax and Plant Food is 100% girlie man talk.  which is socially acceptable in the USA.  but not prefrontal cortex comments, like Volker's 'we killed the younger generation'.... because we already live in a woman's world.  

there are very few men like Harold Moore Jr. anymore.   even Bill Gates, Mr. COP21 along with Obama, now put's on a 'luckiest batch of babies ever born' fake face when he talks about Climate.  he has lots to lose and sees nothing to be gained by using his prefrontal cortex.  in 2019, he is quite correct.  only James Hansen has kept to the same old course, why?  only Hansen knows.  same as what Trump really thinks.  

 

 

Edited by WeekendRaider
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...