Thailand a leader in opportunities for working women

women1Thailand ranks among the countries that provide the greatest opportunities for women in the workforce and as entrepreneurs, according to a survey conducted by MasterCard, the United States-based global credit company, as local finance executives said that women have become the majority of those employed in the country’s banking and insurance industries.

The MasterCard Index of Women Entrepreneurs examined 54 countries around the world, and Thailand was ranked 10th overall for entrepreneurship, and second in the world in terms of women’s advancement outcomes. In the region, the Kingdom trailed only Singapore, an advanced economy, and the Philippines, a lower middle-income economy.

New Zealand, Canada, the United States and Sweden took the top four slots. Thailand was the only upper middle-income country in the top ten. MasterCard noted that high-income countries in general were better at providing opportunities for women who work. Many economists say that including women in the workforce helps to produce higher growth and advance an economy.

“The prevalence of ambitious, resourceful women should be regarded as a prime business opportunity. As society addresses existing cultural bias, we will do our part to help create those conditions that will strengthen and fuel the foundation for personal and economic growth,” said Martina Hund-Mejean, chief financial officer of MasterCard.

Thailand has a reputation for having one of the highest percentages of women executives in the world, and six years ago the Kingdom elected its first female prime minister, and a woman held the top job at the central bank from 2006 – 2010. Women in Thailand can be found working on constructions sites and in many other jobs that are often dominated by males in other countries.

“By enhancing access to critical networks, women are better positioned to recognize their full potential and accelerate more inclusive growth. It’s imperative that the public and private sectors work together to address cultural and organizational issues and further empower women leaders.”
Female entrepreneurship develops at different rates and in different ways around the world,” said Ann Cairns, president for international markets at MasterCard.

Women account for 57 percent of the workforce in Thailand’s finance and insurance industries, according to government statistics.“Accounting is a field that is accessible to women in Thailand, and therefore they have been able to advance in this sector and are highly visible across several levels of jobs,” said Joni Simpson of the International Labor Organization of the United Nations, citing cultural norms and attitudes in Thailand. “The chances are better for women to advance to the highest levels.”