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Parties promise gender equality as world marks Women’s Day


AHEAD OF International Women’s Day today, Thai political parties took the opportunity to publicise their policies on gender equality yesterday.

At a forum organised by Amnesty International at the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre, the Commoner, Future Forward, Mahachon and Pheu Thai parties said commitment to gender equality was enshrined in their policies and would be implemented if they are elected.
International Women’s Day this year takes the theme “Balance for Better”.
Pannika Wanich, spokesperson for Future Forward, told the forum that the first step would be to change Parliament’s domination by senior male MPs and replace them with a younger, gender-diversified group of people. 
“Thai society is diverse but the Parliament has generally been made up of men, who do not truly represent every group in society,” Pannika said. 
“That’s why our party is pledging change so that women and LGBTQI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people] occupy more seats in Parliament, so every group in society is represented.” 
She added that 30 per cent of Future Forward’s 20 party-list MPs are women, two of whom are LGBTQI, while of the party’s 350 MP candidates, 53 are women.
Kriangsak Teerakowitkajorn, a Commoner Party member, said gender equality was a key party principle with policy pledges such as equal pay for every gender, social and health welfare for LGBTQI groups, harsher penalties for sexual assault and domestic violence, and marriage equality. 
Alongkorn Ponlaboot, a representative of the conservative Democrat Party, said his party is also promoting gender equality and is using youth wing – New Dem – to push forward the issue. He also promised that the Democrats will push the Life Partnership Bill to allow marriage between same-sex couples. 
Also yesterday, six women and women’s civil-society organisations were honoured by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for their work in promoting human rights and defending vulnerable groups in society.
Awards were given to Rak Nam Oun Women Network for its work in protecting the environment and people’s livelihood from sugar mills and biomass power plants in Sakhon Nakhon, and the Hmong Women Network for fighting domestic violence. Also honoured were the Muslim Women Rights Network from the far South and the Women’s Foundation, which helps Muslim women refugees in Myanmar.
The individuals awarded were Suthasinee Keawleklai, coordinator of Migrant Workers Rights Network, and Payao Akhart, who became politically active after losing her daughter – a nurse – in the 2010 political unrest. 

Parties promise gender equality as world marks Women’s Day
NHRC commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit pointed out at the forum that human-rights defenders – be they men or women – still suffered from harassment and threats of legal action from the authorities and the business sector. She added that many activists – especially women – are subjected to Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation.

Published : March 07, 2019

By : PRATCH RUJIVANAROM THE NATION