A number of women’s rights groups marked International Women’s Day yesterday to campaign for the legalisation of sex work, alongside a series of measures to support women in the industry.
The groups gathered near Government House to make their demands known, arguing that decriminalising sex work would provide greater protection to workers in the industry, who would then be entitled to labour rights.
In addition to this, the groups also called for a range of broader measures, including the doubling of maternity leave to 180 days, period leave for workers who suffer from menstrual pains, and financial assistance of 3,000 baht per month for each month of pregnancy. They also demanded safe and free abortion services and recognition of March 8 as a public holiday, reported Bangkok Post.
While Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha sent his best wishes to women and women development advocates on the occasion of International Women’s Day, several political parties also took the opportunity to discuss their policies for women ahead of upcoming elections.
The Pheu Thai Party aims to upgrade the Thai Women Empowerment Funds to boost women’s access to economic opportunities, work skill development, funding sources, and women’s rights protection. The Democrat Party aims to introduce policies and laws to ensure people of all groups are accepted equally, while the Thai Sang Thai Party will establish a women’s capacity-building centre called Woman Care in all 878 districts across the country to help women improve skills and create jobs. The Palang Pracharath Party, meanwhile, is currently addressing the social disparities that women face.
One woman, identified only as Pla, spoke at the gathering, describing her experience working in an auto parts factory in Chon Buri for more than 20 years. The 48 year old revealed she earned around 20,000 baht per month and expressed concern about the recent drop in overtime pay, which had forced her to tighten her belt to make ends meet.
The calls for legalising sex work in Thailand, alongside broader measures to support women, reflect ongoing efforts to promote gender parity and encourage progress in women’s development in various areas.
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