In Thailand, “women do not fade away, they are in the foreground”

Since July, they have been leading the demonstrations to demand a reform of the monarchy. If Thai women enjoy a certain economic power, they remain excluded from political, monarchical and military institutions. And the resistance forces remain strong.

Among the tens of thousands of Thais taking part in the protemocracy protests in recent weeks, a new political force is emerging: young women. Early organizers had many female students in their ranks, and women were also in the majority in more recent protests.

While this movement aims to urge Thailand’s old guard to adopt new ideas, it has also served to express concerns rarely heard on the national scene. Many are specifically feminine, such as abortion, taxes on menstrual products and school rules that force girls to conform to an outdated image of femininity. But women are also increasingly denouncing the patriarchy which governs the army, the monarchy and the Buddhist religion, the most powerful institutions in the country. “The monarchy and the army have all the powers in Thailand”, deplores Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, one of the students who mobilized the political opposition. “I’m not afraid to say that the men hold almost all the power there.”

Outside the house, power to men

The government’s position on women’s issues particularly galvanized some activists. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has ruled out the idea of ​​gender parity, even as he heads a national commission aimed at achieving this ideal. “Everyone says we need to bring justice, that women and men have the same rights, he said in a speech on vocational training in 2016. Adopting such ideas risks damaging Thai society. ” For this retired general, women hold authority in their homes. “Outside the house, we are in charge, he said speaking of the men. At work, we have the power. ”

His words irritated the women. “Male supremacy has gained ground since the coup [qui a permis à Prayuth Chan-ocha de prendre le pouvoir, en 2014]”, explains Chumaporn Taengkliang, co-founder of the Women for Freedom and Democracy political group, one of the


Hannah Beech Muktita Suhartono

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