International Women’s Day 2015 – Gender Equality ….. Or, more correctly, inequality….

I was privileged to be able to attend the 2015 International Women’s Day lunch in Canberra on the 5 March 2015, held by the National Committee for UN Women. 

I was pleased to hear from the panelists, which included Air Marshall Geoff Brown, and ABC News Journalist Jennifer Hausseger. 

The equality of women was the subject of conversation over a scrummy lunch. 

Our Governor General, Sir Peter John Cosgrove, implored all men to contribute to the equality of all women, in the home, and in their work places. 

Gender inequality exists. Despite our commitment to the elimination of all forms of discrimination of all women internationally. 

The Beijing Platform for Action was reflected upon, 20 years since it’s inception. 

The Beijing Platform for Action has been agreed to by 189 Nations, to ensure that women and men have equal opportunities in education, pay for work and in the advancement of the goals of equality, development and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of all humanity. 

In this context, the reality that one in three women experience physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner in their lifetime was mentioned. 

What was unfortunately not mentioned, was that the most heinous form of gender inequality and violence against women actually exists in prostitution, in the form of trafficking and slavery. 

I was extremely disappointed that this reality was not mentioned by any of our high profile speakers at the Canberra UN Women event. 

Bangkok has been labelled as the sex capital of the world, and because of it’s close vicinity, and the financial accessibility for Australians to visit Thailand, Australia is known as a contributor to the trafficking and slavery of women and children in the sex industry, by creating a demand for this service. 

It is for this reason, that I was delighted to discover that General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, at Thailand’s International Women’s Day event addressed the inequality of women on the 6 March 2015. 

It is at this event that Thailand’s Prime Minister delivered a speech titled “Two Decades of Beijing Declaration: Empowering Women and Society”, in which he accepted the 2015 proposal submitted by the National Assembly of Women which aims to enhance and empower women in all possible dimensions in a constructive manner to create awareness of human rights and gender equality.

According to the Prime Minister, Thailand holds a number of activities on International Women’s Day every year, with a focus on promoting the role and status of women and gender equality, and encouraging engagement of women in every context of society, in line with Thailand’s obligation towards the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action to propel the advancement of women.

Recently, Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly passed a Gender Equality Bill aiming to help in promoting equal opportunities for women, and bringing more tangible outcomes for women, particularly in the areas of human trafficking and migrant workers.

The Prime Minister of Thailand has insisted that Thai women are a priority in the Government’s policy.

Over the past 20 years, Thailand has made effort to implement a number of projects on poverty, education, health, violence, economy, and public participation in accordance with its National Economic and Social Development Plans, including the current 11th Plan. 

However, in order for women development to be continued, the roles of women must be clearly indicated in the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan. 

These are all necessary steps in the right direction. Enforcement needs to follow. 

Fighting for Justice Foundation is extremely encouraged by Thailand’s commitment to promoting gender equality and the advancement of women, and hopes that this will contribute to the reduction of trafficked persons and sex slaves that exist in Thailand. 

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