Thai / English

Govt criticized for lack of action on women's problems

The government has failed to deliver a social security scheme and social welfare services that best respond to the needs of women, a seminar was told yesterday.

07 Mar 13
The Nation

The seminar was held by the State Enterprises Workers Relations' Confederation and the Friends of Women Foundation.

Integrated Female Labour Group's chair Thanaporn Wijan said the government had not paid enough attention to solving women's problems, especially those regarding social security and social welfare.

"We have made several pleas before but to no avail," she said, "This has happened even though the current prime minister is a woman".

The seminar was titled, "Female labour and women's access to social security schemes and social welfare".

Thanaporn said her group and supporters planned to submit another petition to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on International Women's Day, which falls tomorrow, to demand better welfare for working women.

A similar petition was submitted to the House committee on children, youth, women, the elderly and people with disabilities yesterday.

Thanaporn believed the number of nurseries in industrial/community zones should be increased, and their quality improved.

Dr Poonchai Chitanuntavitaya, a former executive of the National Health Security Office, said that while dozens of women died of breast and cervical cancer each day, the social security scheme had not provided free cancer screenings for its female members.

However, he explained there were simple steps that women could use in detecting the early stages of breast cancer by themselves.

"Such information is available on the Internet," Poonchai said.

He also encouraged women to contact their community centres, many of which offered tests for cervical cancer.

Ubon Romphothong from the Thai Kriang Community Association said she felt doctors in the social security scheme paid little attention to patients who could walk in.

"Doctors seem to really listen only when we exaggerate our symptoms," she said.

Oijai Jamthongdee, a representative of unregistered workers, said her employer fired her when she became heavily pregnant.

"My employer felt I would not be able to work hard enough with the pregnancy," she lamented.

Oijai said the government should step in to help such unprotected workers. "Without work, how can they find money to support themselves and their babies?" she said.

Thanaporn said the government must provide women with better services relating to their right to reproductive health.