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Thailand needs urgent debate on female equality

Women have made huge strides forward, but much remains to be done

| Thailand
Bangkok Bank employees pose at a promotional event in the Thai capital. Over 70% of the bank's new recruits last year were women. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

Thailand has undergone a dramatic social, cultural, economic and political transformation during the past half century. In particular, educated Thai women have reconfigured traditional conceptions of their private and public roles -- to the point where Thailand now has among the highest proportions of female executives in the world, according to surveys and research by consultants including Grant Thornton and Oliver Wyman.

Many have broken into the top levels of the civil service, such as Juree Wijitwatakarn, former director of the National Institute of Development Administration, or have risen to senior levels in the business world, such as Chadatip Chutiahul, chief executive of Siam Paragon Department Store and Supaluck Umpujh, head of The Mall Group, Thailand's second largest retail chain.

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