According to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), more than 1,500 women fell victim to domestic violence during the past year.
In a message marking International Women’s Day yesterday, acting NHRC chairperson Prakairatana Thontiravong said that although women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups had been given legal rights, in practice they still faced discrimination based on prejudice.
Many had been exploited for prostitution and sexually harassed, particularly when they related to cases involving domestic violence, Ms Thontiravong said.
Citing statistics from 2017-2020 from the Department of Women’s Affairs and Family Development, she said that domestic violence had continued to rise.
A total of 1,865 people fell victim to domestic violence last year compared to 1,309 in 2017 and about 84% of last year’s victims or around 1,566 were women, she said.
“Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, the government has closed several premises and asked people to stay at home. Many women have not been able to go out to work and have had to face violence in their families,” she said.
“Many elderly women live alone, particularly in rural areas, without anyone to take care of them. These women have problems accessing medical and healthcare services. Several other women are frontline health workers who are combating COVID-19.”
In keeping with the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, the NHRC is urging people to realise the important role of women in solving social crises, as well as the COVID-19 outbreak.
Therefore, said Ms Thontiravong, the government should give women more influence in policy-making decisions.
Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said that on the occasion of International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had sent his best regards to all Thai women and those who work to promote the empowerment of women.
The prime minister said the government attached importance to women’s role in social activities and to ending social discrimination.
To this end it had incorporated into its 20-year national strategy a plan to promote gender equality, women’s participation in social development and increase their role in political and economic affairs and management, Mr Burapachaisri said.