Friday, June 29, 2007

Feminist Economics in Thailand

I have traveled to Bangkok and am participating in the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE) conference in connection with my work at the editorial offices of the journal Feminist Economics, which is based at Rice University.

The conference is at Ramkhamhaeng University, which is one of the largest schools in the world. Over the next three days, scholars, activists, and leaders from government and NGOs from thirty-five countries will present talks at the conference. Many will focus on issues of major importance to this region of the world including international trade, sex work, migrant labor, and the informal labor market.

At the opening plenary, the speakers were Dr. Juree Vichitvathakran of the National Institute of Development Administration in Bangkok, Naiyana Supapung of the National Human Rights Commission in Thailand, Jean D’Cunha of the UNIFEM East and Southeast Asia Regional Office, and Jackie Pollock, the Director of the MAP Foundation for the Health and Knowledge of Ethnic Labour, Chiang Mai.

Unfortunately, I could not attend the first two talks. D’Cunha spoke about migrant workers in Southeast region, many of whom are domestic workers. She spoke about the situations of women who clean houses and take care of children. Jackie Pollock spoke about Burmese migrants to Thailand. She started her talk with a story of a migrant worker who came to her office asking for help. Her employer had not paid her for three years.

I'm hoping to share more as the conference goes on!

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