Critical Issues Summit: Gender Equality in Thailand Resources
The purpose of these resources is to:
- Provide context to the issue of gender equality so you have a common starting place for initial discussions and feel prepared to ask relevant questions during your experience in Thailand.
- Introduce the scope of the issue and essential background information demonstrating the complexity, debates, and nuances of the issue.
- Introduce the global context of gender issues, including a human rights framework that allows you to make connections to your home context.
Read or watch the links provided below. The resources are divided into relevant themes and topics. For most sections, there are both required and supplemental resources. Required resources are in bold. Start with the required resources in each section. If you’d like to go a bit deeper in your preparation, we highly recommend the supplemental resources. There are no resources related to Design Thinking on this list. Instead, we hope you will join us for our Introduction to Design Thinking webinar on Thursday, June 28 at 6:00pm ET or Friday, June 29 at 10:00am ET.
Guided Reading Questions
Guided reading questions are designed to help you focus on important takeaways. Answering them will ensure you are prepared to take full advantage of your Critical Issues Summit Immersion Week experience.
- What are the key gender assumptions or stereotypes for men and women Adiche discusses in her talk? What are the problems with masculinity as she describes it? (See: We should all be Feminists)
- What are the two definitions of feminisms Chimamanda presents? What are the key differences? Are you a feminist? Why or why not? (See: We should all be Feminists)
- What are existing gender stereotypes in Thailand? How do they compare to gender stereotypes in your own country? (See: Thai National Context on Gender resources, especially those under Education, and Thailand’s intolerance of its own LGBTQ community will surprise you).
- What are specific barriers faced by sex workers, LGBTQ+ people, and environmental defenders? How do the ways these groups are marginalized differ from one another? What do they have in common? (See resources under LGBTQ+, Sex Work, and The Animated Story of a Gold Mine in Northeast Thailand).
- What have been the impacts of gold mining on Na Nong Bong? Who is People Who Love their Hometown? Who is the Radical Grandma Collective?
Global Context around Gender Inequality
- We Should All Be Feminists: TedTalk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche on constructions of gender for both men and women and how they hold us back and the role of all of us to dismantle systems of oppression.
- Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW): Convention adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. Recommended that you read the Introduction.
- Gender Equality and Sustainable Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific: Summary: UN Women report on how gender factors into countries’ progress in achieving SDGs, finding that women and girls often are doing much worse than their male counterparts as countries progress.
- In defense of nature: Women at the forefront: UNDP article on how many environmental land defenders are women and are even more susceptible to violence and to be negatively impacted by environmental degradation because of their roles tending to the land.
- Forget Hollywood: Decriminalizing sex work helps sex workers: Broadly article on Amnesty International’s new recommendation that governments decriminalize sex work for those who sell and buy it consensually and the controversy around it from celebrities who think it will promote traficking and protect brothel owners.
Education and Gender in Thai Context
- 10 Extremely important facts about girls’ education in Thailand: The Borgen Project synthesizes the data on gender equality in Thailand, including gains women have made as Thailand has developed and the barriers still holding them back.
- Gender in Thai schools: Do we grow up to believe what we’re taught?: World Bank study on how Thai public schools reinforce gender stereotypes through textbooks, interaction with teachers, and mismatched academic expectations for girls and boys.
- Selling Thailand: Gender Tourism and Female Objectification: Op-ed in the Diplomat on how problematic gender norms have been constructed by state-based projects, especially tourism initiatives that focus on Thai women’s beauty and national beauty pageants.
LGBTQ+ Issues in Thai Context
- Being LGBT in Asia: Thailand Country Report: UNDP report on the legal and social environment for LGBTQ persons in Thailand. Recommended to read the executive summary.
- Thailand’s intolerance of its own LGBTQ community will surprise you: Time article on how Thailand’s public portrayal of an LGBTQ friendly destination misreppresents the discrimination faced by LGBTQ people in Thailand, especially when it comes to trans folks and the military draft, recognition of same sex couples, and discrimination at universities.
- Go Thai, Be Free Campaign: Thailand Authority on Tourism’s official campaign to encourage foriegn same sex couples to travel in Thailand.
Sex Work in Thai Context
- The Thai women behind the first bar entirely run by sex workers: Vice feature on the Can Do bar in Chiang Mai run by the NGO, EMPOWER, that focuses on decriminalizing sex work in Thailand and supporting sex workers in creating a safe environment their business. EMPOWER believes that sex trafficking in Thailand was largely eliminated in the late 1990s and current anti-trafficking work targets people who pursue sex work willingly as a means to arrest and deport them.
The Radical Grandma Collective
- The Animated Story of a Gold Mine in Northeast Thailand: An animated summary of the mining conflict in Na Nong Bong village and how local community members formed the organization People Who Love their Hometown to fight back.
- Isaan Record: Fields of Mine Video: An early news story on the impact gold mining has had on villagers in Na Nong Bong.
- Armed Men Attack Thai Villagers to get to Controversial Gold Mine: Al Jazeera article on an attack on members of People Who Love their Hometown in 2014 where the company assaulted villagers, broke a barricade that was blocking access to the mine, and illegally moved ore out of the village.
- Two with Thai army links found guilty of attack on gold mine protest: An article on the attack from Reuters that found former Thai military officers responsible for the attack in May 2014.
- Radical Grandma Collective Video: A video explaining the Radical Grandma Collective and their role in weaving scarves and selling them to fundraise for People Who Love their Hometown.
- Radical Grandma Collective: The Big Picture: The origin story of the Radical Grandma Collective and how their work contributes to sustainable development.
Critical Issues Summit: Resources for All
The purpose of the following resources is to spark your thinking on topics that are relevant to the Critical Issues Summit as a whole, rather than one particular Immersion Week experience.
These engaging videos from TED will also be shared in your Facebook group and are recommended for students traveling on all programs.
- Chimamanda Adichie’s Dangers of a Single Story Ted Talk
- Hans Rosling’s The best stats you’ve ever seen Ted Talk
- Greta Thunberg’s The disarming case to act right now on climate change Ted Talk
- Daniela Papi Thornton’s Reclaiming Social Entrepreneurship Tedx Talk and Tackling Heropreneurship: why we need to move from “the social entrepreneur” to social impact in Stanford Social Innovation Review
- Benedetta Berti’s What are the universal human rights? Ted Ed presentation and this Human Rights Watch publication where you should become familiar with the top human rights violations in the country you are traveling to.
There are no books required for the Summit, but for students who have asked for our recommendations, they are:
- Rustic’s 16 books that every future changemaker should read blog post
- To that list, we would add these non-fiction titles:
- Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, and Anna Rosling Rönnlund
- Smart Risks: How Small Grants Are Helping to Solve Some of the World’s Biggest Problems Edited by Jennifer Lentfer and Tanya Cothran
- How to Change the World by John-Paul Flintoff
- Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo