6 Promote gender equality and empower women

Where are we?

UNDP works to empower women of all ages and aspirations--whether to improve livelihoods or seek political office.

Thailand has mixed experience with gender equality. Thai girls and boys have equal educational opportunities. Although there is a small gender gap at the primary level, the situation is reversed at tertiary level. Girls also perform better in school, and even better in higher education. The labour market is open, and Thai women participate actively in both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors. Thailand has successfully achieved most of the MDG targets.

As a result, the government is focusing on political empowerment and access to women’s participation more broadly in politics and administration at the national and local levels. The new target for MDG plus is to double the proportion of women in the national parliament, Tambon Administrative Organization, and executive positions in the civil services by 2006.

Thailand has not achieved the 2006 MDG+ target to double the share of female representation in the National Assembly, sub-district administrative organizations, high-level executive organizations, and high-level executives in the central administration. Major obstacles such as social values and traditional norms that emphasize the role of women in the households continue to hamper progress in these areas. Research has shown that gender inequality hinders national economic growth, development effectiveness and poverty reduction. One of the key strategic recommendations to promote gender equality is to take active measures to redress persistent disparities in command over resources and political voice.

UNDP's work in Thailand

Percentage of Representation in National Parliament by Gender (2011)

Bar Chart
Targets for MDG3
  1. Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015
    • Ratios of girls to boys in primary, secondary and tertiary education
    • Share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector
    • Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament