According to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
While Thailand may fare generally well in a number of SDGs, gender equality is not an area this Southeast Asian nation can fully take pride in. The asymmetry is most evident in the political realm where women are significantly underrepresented. The situation has clearly worsened since the military regime took over in 2017 and minimally improved in the new administration installed after the general election in April 2019.
In terms of rights-based scenario, although the country’s first Gender Equality Act was passed in 2015, its implementation remains constrained from two over-broad exceptions — national security and religion. Gender discrimination, in practice, is ever-present, particularly in regard to unequal pay, gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse, forced labor and human trafficking.
In the context of higher education, gender equality has often been taken for granted owing to the fact that there has been nearly an equal number of young men and women enrolling in Thai universities. But a closer look will show that female academics suffer from the “glass ceiling” phenomenon which is rather unknown to their male counterparts.
Chulalongkorn University is among the first Thai universities to show interest in gender equality. In late 2018, the Chulalongkorn University administrative team commissioned external researchers to conduct a study on equal gender opportunity and to identify factors that would enable a gender-equal environment at the university.
The research titled “Equal Opportunity and Genders Enabling Environment in the Promotion of Gender Equality in Chulalongkorn University, 2018” aims to study the knowledge and understanding of gender equality among the University’s administrators, faculty and staff members.
The study, which is in its first phase, uses a questionnaire-based survey and key informant interviews to study the gender situation and factors contributing to gender inequality among academic and supporting staff at Chulalongkorn Community. The study also offers a tangible framework as well as policy recommendations to promote gender equality in the university.
Download the report here