Top priority must be given to empowering women in the workplace if Asia and the Pacific is to recover from the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Business leaders and Policymakers in Thailand.
The CEOs of 110 companies in Thailand signed and announced new commitments to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) during a ceremony to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the principles. They committed to broaden and strengthen gender-responsive business practices, including gender-equal corporate leadership, inclusive, safe workplaces, and equal pay for work of equal value. More than 3,600 companies worldwide have signed the WEPs, established by UN Women and United Nations Global Compact. Before today, only 11 companies in Thailand had signed on.
Thailand’s Deputy Minister of Labour, Narumon Pinyosinwat said, “This event will help boost women’s labour force participation in Thailand. Women now make up 45 percent of the country’s total workforce. But it is estimated that by 2040, up to 17 million jobs (44 percent of all jobs) in Thailand could be at risk of automation – and due to gender inequality, women are more likely to lose those jobs. That is why the Ministry of Labour has made women’s economic empowerment a top priority.”
Regional Director of UN Women for Asia and the Pacific, Mohammad Naciri said, “As women make half of the world population, empowering women to achieve gender equality would serve as a key to restoring economic resilience in challenging times. UN Women has been at the forefront of the response since the [coronavirus] outbreak, and celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Women’s Empowerment Principles this year, we are dedicated more than ever to collaborating with our reliable partners in Asia and the Pacific region, including Thailand as well as the European Union.”
Thailand has done comparatively well in putting women into the highest positions in business. Twenty-four percent of CEOs/managing directors in Thailand are women, compared to an average of 20 percent worldwide and only 13 percent in the Asia-Pacific. Thailand has the world’s highest percentage of female chief financial officers – 43 percent – and the third-highest percentage of female CEOs.
During the event, participants also discussed how to measure progress on gender diversity policies and highlighted the importance of transparent data and business accountability. Also, new and emerging entrepreneurs described how their companies were fighting gender bias and promoting women’s leadership.