Feminism in Thailand is perpetuated by many of the same traditional feminist theory foundations, though Thai feminism is facilitated through a medium of social movement activist groups within Thailand's illiberal democracy. The Thai State claims to function as a civil society with an intersectionality between gender inequality and activism in its political spheres.

In the Thai state, feminist activism is pivotal upon class structures, which focus on specific facets of public policy based on a woman's socioeconomic status. The hierarchy of a feminist's issue lies in one's class social strata. The Thai elite focusing on public policy, social equality, and increase in women's presence within economic confines. The younger Thai generation is depicted as less concerned with their public policy and formal politics; while middle class feminist Thai women express their political concerns through more antiquated and traditional mediums such as artistic performances and published works.[1]

History of the Thai women’s movement





• The rights of a wife to matrimonial property management were imposed.






Thai Buddhist Feminist Theory

The conceptualization of Thai Buddhist Feminist Theory is founded upon feminist activists who seek to find spiritual rejuvenation. Participating in mediation while practicing mindful eating habits Thai Buddhist Feminist activists Ouyporn Khuankaew and Ginger Norwood pay specific attention to breathing techniques while taking action in local communities through the facilitation of workshops which aid refugees, victims of sexual violence, and the rejuvenation of other women's organization directors. Through the communication between activist Thai women Khuankaew believes that change will take place. In one interview Khuankaew states, 'Sometimes, women who come to the retreats are so overwhelmed by the trauma they have witnessed that listening to each other is very difficult. I tell them that listening is a form of meditation. Mediation does not only involve watching and letting go of your own mind—getting lost in a space separate from other people. Mediation can also include being a witness, seeing each other as survivors, as activists, as mothers and visionaries. Deep listening is a skill we practice together' [11]

Activism and movements

Sexuality in Thai culture

Organizations such as Thailand's Women’s Health Advocacy Foundation focus on Thai women's reproductive rights and sexuality issues based on choice which is a traditional feminist topic.[1] Located in Bangkok, The Women's Health Advocacy Foundation includes research, training of skilled nurses. and hosting of international conferences on the facilitation of safe abortions.[17]
Issues of sexuality are often debated as Thai feminist subject due to an array of sexual preferences within Thai culture. The subject of sexuality is quantified based on an individual's societal class 'norms'. In Chalidaporn Songsamphan's article, "Localizing Feminism: Women’s Voices and Social Activism in Thai Context" Songsamphan (Associate Professor of Political Science at Thammasat University) states that, 'while some Thai feminists do not tolerate commercial sex, others looked at it as a type of work women might choose due to their particular reasons and circumstances.'[1]

Sex workers and human rights

Main article: EMPOWER

Sex workers in Thailand have been resisting and organizing for decades. In 1985 with support from the Thai activist and women's human rights defender Chantawipa Apisuk they formed their first organization - Empower Foundation. In 2004 a second sex worker organization created by Empower members SWING began. Empower has had a leading role in creating many other networks and organizations to address issues of HIV, migration, political reform, natural disasters e.g. tsunami. Sex workers are often unrecognized in their roles as leaders of Thai feminism and movement building. www.empowerfoundation.org

Women's studies academic degrees

Two institutions in Thailand offer a graduate level Women's Studies degree:[1] Chiangmai University in 2000[18] and the Women's and Youth Studies Programme in Thammasat University. The first Women' Studies Centre was established in 1981. The Gender and Development Studies (GDS) Field of Study at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).[18] According to a Bangkok independent economist, Sethaput Suthiwart-Narueput, by 2020 there will be one million more women than men in Thailand and 'The top 10 faculties of the top 10 universities in Thailand have more women students than male students except for accounting and education.'[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Songsamphan, Chalidaporn. "Localizing Feminism: Women's Voices and Social Activism in Thai Context". Gunda Werner Institute. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  2. ^ "Economic and political upheaval: 1930 to 1945". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  3. ^ Loos, Tamara Lynn (2006) Subject Siam: Family, Law, and Colonial Modernity in Thailand. Cornell University Press. p. 174. ISBN 9780801443930
  4. ^ a b c Costa, LeeRay (1997). "Exploring the History of Women's Education and Activism in Thailand". Explorations in Southeast Asian Studies a Journal of the Southeast Asian Studies Student Association. 1 (2).
  5. ^ a b Changsorn, Pichaya. "Thai women on the Rise". The Star Online. Archived from the original on 19 February 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e Somswasdi, Virada (1 April 2003). "The Women's Movement and Legal Reform in Thailand". Cornell Law Library. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  7. ^ a b Suwannanond, Unchana; Berhane-Selassie, Tsehai; Henry, Alice; Osman, Sona; Wallsgrove, Ruth (March 1985). "International interview: FEMINISM IN THAILAND: "IT WILL TAKE MY WHOLE LIFE, I THINK"". Off Our Backs. 15 (3): 2–4. JSTOR 25794571.
  8. ^ "Thailand outlaws marital rape". The China Post. 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
  9. ^ "Asia-Pacific | Thailand passes marital rape bill". BBC News. 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
  10. ^ Voices, Siam. "Thailand's first female prime minister vs Thai feminists". Travel Wire Asia. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  11. ^ Thompson, Becky; Harriford, Dianne (23 July 2010). "Feminist Find Peace in Thailand". Ms. Magazine. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  12. ^ "International Women's Partnership for Peace and Justice". Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  13. ^ "Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women". Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Foundation For Women". Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  15. ^ "Foundation For Women". Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  16. ^ "WREST Thai Women's News Network". Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  17. ^ "Women's Health and Reproductive Rights Foundation of Thailand". Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  18. ^ a b "Women's/Gender Studies Network in Asia-Pacific". UNESCO. Archived from the original on 20 May 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2012.