ASIA/THAILAND - Pandemic exacerbates gender discrimination at work

Wednesday, 13 January 2021 human rights   women   work   human dignity   pandemic  

Bangkok (Agenzia Fides) - In Thailand, over 47% of the workforce are women, who are, however, often treated unfairly and discriminatively: They are paid less than men and often do the heaviest work under insecure conditions and are often relegated to the informal sector if not illegal. This situation is denounced by Focsiv (International Voluntary Service of the Federation of Christian Organisms) together with the Italian Caritas as part of the campaign "Give us today our daily bread". Church aid organizations complain that "above all, the pandemic abolishes rights and endangers the dignity of women". The story of Pi Toi, a Thai woman who works on a rubber plantation, is symptomatic: "It is only when two buckets are filled and the liquid rubber is deposited in the cistern, that the boss empties every three days, that Pi Toi will be able to travel the four kilometers that separate her from her house to welcome Jirawat and Gamon who are returning from school. She will have to prepare lunch for them, wait for her husband to come home during the break, make sure that the chickens have enough to eat, just like the pig ...". As Beppe Pedron reports, who works in the framework of the Campaign promoted by Caritas and Focsiv, Pi Toi has difficulty earning her family's daily bread. Her story is intended to reflect on the condition of women in Asia and in the world now aggravated by the pandemic: already before, 94% of men between 25 and 54 years had a job against 63% of women in the same age group, and the latter still received a lower salary compared to men, write Caritas and Focsiv in a collection of data on the condition of women. In South Asia - according to the two networks - over 80% of women work, 74% in Sub-Saharan Africa and 54% in Latin America in so-called informal employment relationships with no protection or minimum wage. In addition, gender-based violence has increased due to limited mobility and social isolation. About 243 million women were victims of abuse in 2019, and it is estimated that this number has increased due to the pandemic. It should be added that Thailand, in spite of everything, is a rather positive example in the Southeast Asia region compared to many other neighboring countries. "On the Thai labor market, 32% of management jobs are occupied by women and only 5% of medium-sized companies have no women in management positions, which is a significant improvement on the previous year's figure of 19%. To confirm this - Focsiv still documents - there are 24% women even in the highest positions of CEO in large companies. This means that Thailand is well above the world average of 20% and the Asian average of 13%". (EG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 13/1/2021)