Prime Minister to host Launch of Leadership Academy for Muslim Women
Women in the 14 Southern Provinces will get a major political boost on Tuesday, December 11, when H.E. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra presides over the national launch of a Leadership Academy for Muslim Women at Government House.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) will officially launch the innovative new programme at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, with a joint partnership signing.
Out of about roughly 7,000 political positions in villages and towns across Thailand, women account for just 4 percent. In Parliament, women make up just 16%, although they represent more than half of Thailand’s population. There is only one Muslim woman member of Parliament in Thailand.
“Empowering women empowers all of Thailand. The United Nations is proud to work with the Royal Thai Government on a programme that reaches out to women in the South—who already have the drive and the ambition,” said Mr. Luc Stevens, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Thailand.
“All they need is the opportunity. This programme will give them exactly that,” Stevens said.
The Academy Programme will train Muslim women in the South through two distinct training programmes. The first programme will equip participants with skills to participate and take leading roles in community development activities. The second will further develop skills for women who want to pursue political ambitions and will focus more intensively on skills for political participation.
“In order to provide opportunities for women, we need to develop them to their full potential and strive for equality between women and men,” said H.E. Minister Santi Prompat, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.
“Women should be nourished in several ways, especially in knowledge and education.”
The Academy will also provide opportunities for women to be mentored by women already in political positions and will offer participants the chance to intern at political entities in their communities and provinces.
Upon completion, participants will be assigned to work in political entities in their respective areas on internship basis, and where possible, learn from and be mentored by Muslim women who are already in political positions.
Joining the Prime Minister at Government House will be Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Mr. Phongthep Thepkanjana, Minister of Interior Mr. Jarupong Ruangsuwan, Mr. Santi Prompat, Minister of Social Development and Human Security, and Ms. Rarinthip Sirorat, Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.
Women hold just a small percentage of executive positions in local, village and sub-district administrations. As of 2007, women accounted for just 11% of sub-district administrative organizations, membership of PAO/SAO councils and members of municipal councils. The proportion was the lowest in the South.
Thailand’s South holds the smallest share of female Members of Parliament—and the smallest percentage of party-list MPs, at 13%.