POLITICS: Women are a minority in national politics, and cultural prejudices against women are still very much at work, but this does not mean there is a lack of activism at the grassroots level.
There is one thing the Parliament and the prisons in Thailand have in common: women are a very small minority there.
Throughout the six decades of Thai democracy, female MPs have never accounted for more than seven percent of the House. Females make up roughly the same percentage of prison inmates: eight percent.
And while only men are allowed to be ordained as Buddhist monks, it is a known fact that the majority of the faithful who regularly visit and support the temples and the monks are women.
Many believe that those phenomena show that women are brought up to be more "noble" and more "sin fearing" than men. Which is why they want more women in the House as cleaners of national politics.
Mechai Viravaidya, the world-famous "Mr Condom," is one of them. Women, he said, should stop grumbling about discrimination, and should get into action by campaigning for all female candidates in the coming general election.
"Enough of complaints. Start with campaigns," he said at the "Women in Politics" forum during the Thai Studies conference in Chiang Mai last week.
He even offered a starting fund of 500,000 baht for the "Vote for Women" campaigns in Bangkok.
But prevalent skepticism on the futility of parliamentary politics which is dominated by money and godfathers made his offer fall on deaf ears.
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