The government should help increase the number of women in parliament to promote gender equality, a forum was told recently. Advocates for greater gender equality at the political level spoke at the “International Women’s Day: Breaking the Barrier to Women in Political Leadership” forum, organised by the British and Canadian embassies, and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
Purawich Watanasukh, a researcher from King Prajadhipok Institute’s Politics and Governance College, said increasing the number of women in parliament will affect legislative processes surrounding gender equality. The more women MPs in the House, the better the chances of discussions on gender equality, which could lead to more gender inclusivity, he said.
“Rwanda and Argentina, for instance, reserved seats for women in their parliaments to encourage debates on equality and empowerment,” he said, though he said he disagrees with a quota for female MPs.
“The law requires all parties to put an emphasis on gender equality in their ranks. When parties have more female candidates for voters to choose from, there will automatically be more female MPs.”
“Although we need more women in parliament, I am afraid that if we impose a strict gender quota, parties will bring on female candidates only as an empty gesture [as opposed to a reflection of their commitment to gender equality],” he said.
Ruengrawee Pichaikul, the director of Gender and Development Research Institute, said more women in politics would help to reduce corruption.