First female head of SEC urges women to pursue career goals

The first woman to head Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said in an interview with a local newspaper that she overcame gender obstacles and advised women to work hard to achieve their goals and dreams.
SEC Secretary-General Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol is leading the agency during a time of significant challenges and change in Thailand’s capital markets. New financial technologies and the digitization of business have created uncharted waters for regulators that will require vision and wisdom to navigate successfully. Ruenvadee believes that a woman can bring extra dimensions to the role of chief regulator.
Some traditionally feminine traits such as empathy, prudence, as well as an ability to listen with patience and compassion can give women an advantage in leadership roles, she told the Bangkok Post.
“People have some doubts about women being decisive, and sometimes male [leaders] may have more rapid decision-making ability. But women can also do that, although they might do it in a cautious manner,” she said.
And caution has been the watchword for the SEC as it monitors and oversees the capital markets’ digital transformation. While the Stock Exchange of Thailand and Thai banks have been embracing blockchain and digital currencies, the SEC has encouraged their adoption while also building guardrails to protect consumers and investors from unnecessary or unforeseen risks.
Ruenvadee said she was also aiming to increase the public’s financial literacy and increase financial inclusion. She is determined to ensure women and marginalized groups have equal access to safe and sustainable investments in an increasingly digital world.
“Thailand is an open society with ample opportunities for women,” Ruenvadee said, urging any Thai women aspiring to be leaders to have confidence and work hard.
“The opportunity is there, and every woman can do as she dreams, but one thing to remember: we are still Thai women,” she said.
No country or society is entirely free from gender-based obstacles or discrimination. But Thailand has outperformed many countries when it comes to women in business leadership roles. According to a Credit Suisse report, Thailand ranks second globally for women represented in senior management, with the highest percentage of female chief financial officers and the third-highest rate of female chief executives.