Women getting ahead in the workplace
Over the past few decades, Thai women have made advancements in positions of seniority, putting them ahead of most of their Asian counterpartsAnusra Chittmittrapap, president of Thailand Post Co, says: "Over the past few decades, Thai women in the public sector have been given a fair chance of career advancement relative to their male counterparts, as we now have quite a few female permanent secretaries and directors-general, such as at the Commerce and Education ministries.
"In the public sector, there are very few barriers, if any, against career advancement prospects for female workers. For example, Thailand Post, a state-owned company, has more than 20,000 employees, of which less than 10 per cent are female, but in the senior management level the number of female managers is slightly higher than that of their male counterparts.
"In politics we already have the first female prime minister, even though MPs are still predominantly male.
"For accounting or financial matters, females are generally better, so there are probably more female chief financial officers than male."
Jarunan Ithiawatchakul, vice-president of AIS, says: "Statistics shows that the global trend is improving in favour of female workers, especially in Asean countries such as the Philippines and Thailand, where more and more females are appointed to boards of directors or promoted to senior positions such as CEO.
"In Thailand, over 38 per cent of board members and CEOs are female, while in the Philippines the figure is about 47 per cent. In other words, barriers have been lowered over the past few years, thus narrowing the gender gap in positions of power in the corporate world.
"Previously, female workers were often at a disadvantage due to perceptions that they are less capable than men, or they should stay home more and take care of kids and families rather than work in the corporate boardroom, management office or factory.
"In fact, Thai women generally are more fortunate than their counterparts in other Asian countries such as China, South Korea or Japan, where men are predominant.
"In the Western world, France is a strong advocate of gender equality, especially in politics, with a target to boost the number of female politicians to 40 per cent of the total, up from the present 20 per cent.
"At the corporate level, it's also useful to fix a quota for female workers or executives, so that there is a gender balance. Over the years, some perceptions such as the role of women as mothers have hindered the career advancement prospects of many female workers [who have to take extended maternity leave to take care of newborns].
"However, the situation is now much better for women. As a human resources manager, we often remind the top management that a gender balance is in favour of the companies' future growth and development, so we prefer to plan in advance the career development of up-and-coming executives, both male and female."
Naowarat Arunkong of Anantara Resort and Spa Hua Hin, says: "Our parent company, Minor Group, has quite a number of top female executives, including CFO for finance, or CPO, as well as several vice presidents.
"Women are more detail-oriented while their male counterparts are more macro-oriented."