Women's voices, Women's Choice- 100 years of International Women's Day

The 100 year anniversary of the international women’s day will be celebrated in many countries around the world in March 2011. To celebrate this event, the website “Women’s Voices, Women’s Choices - 100 years of international women’s day” in English and German version was created by  Heinrich Boell Stiftung  collaborating with its international and German Partners to increase public awareness concerning women and gender related topics. The website can be viewed at www.gwi-boell.de/womens-day.

HBS international offices in Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Europe, North America and Asia share different voices of women and other gender identities in diverse contexts. The current feminist movement is one of the topics and features voices from Israel, Mexico and Brazil.  The development of the International women’s dayin several countries such as Russia, USA and Serbia are presented by articles and interviews.  

Some articles present relevant topics to the current situation in Thai society by covering them from different angles for instance the issues of pregnancy and abortion in Poland. Polish feminists explain the situation of Polish women who lost the right to abortion. Additionally, there are two articles about the LGBTI movement in Africa which broach the issues of prohibition of homosexuality. All articles are worth reading in order to learn more about the complexity of gender bias worldwide.  

Concerning Thailand, there are two pieces of work reflecting the gender situation. One is the briefing report “Women in Thailand” which provides information on the situation of Thai women in political, economic and social aspects. For example, the report states that the share of women in the Thai Parliament is only 13.3 percent. It shows that although Thai women were given the right to vote for eight decades, the political landscape is still dominated by men.  Another article is “Women and Community Radio in Thailand” which is the work of a HBS partner organization under the Media for Democracy Program in Thailand. The article explains the role of women in community radio in terms of gender digital divide, broadcasting women’s radio program and using community radio as public sphere for women. Looking at Thailand, the selected papers both reflect that most of the public sphere in Thai society is still male-dominated in term of decision making.  Although gender equality has come a long way in recent decades, all of the papers represented on the website  show that there are still  limitations and expectations on a global as well as a local level and that the fight for equal rights for women, men and  other gender identities needs to be continued.

The theme in Thailand for the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the international women’s day is the situation of working women in both formal and informal sector, agriculture, fishery folk as well as migrant workers. There will be several events taking place including a rally, public gathering, workshops and art exhibitions by a collaboration of   women’s rights groups and labor workers networks during the first half of March.