On March 8, 2022, Thammasat University takes pride in co-hosting the International Women’s Day event with the Embassy of Israel in Thailand to hold a keynote speech under the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow: Global Gender Equality Challenge” – calling for climate action for women, by women.
On this occasion, Ms. Orna Sagiv, Israel’s ambassador to Thailand, Miss Anchilee Scott-Kemmis, Miss Universe Thailand 2021, and Ms. Nitcharee Pen-eakchanasak, a Thammasat University alumna, all spoke at the event, highlighting the importance of advocating women’s rights.
The event was graced and officially opened by Her Excellency Ms. Orna Sagiv, Israel’s ambassador to Thailand. She pointed out that, in the world we are living in, it takes a lot of effort to prove that a woman has equal capabilities as a man. This is the myth that prevents us from breaking gender barriers.
Apart from that, she also gave her testimony of her journey to success to prove that “Women Can Do It.” At the tender age of 18, she said, she embarked on a journey of becoming a soldier resulting in her present rise in the social ladder as a woman.
As fate would have it, Ambassador Sagiv became one of the few women in the diplomatic mission where she distinguished herself and demystified the myth that women can’t hold positions ‘meant’ for men.
Miss Anchilee Scott-Kemmis, Miss Universe Thailand 2021, spoke at the same event and encouraged women to achieve their goals with their heads high while ignoring societal stereotypes about women. She also highlighted that beauty is not the only definition of what it means to be a woman; confidence and belief in oneself can make a successful woman. The smiling beauty who is representing Thailand did indeed inspire young girls.
Finally, Thammasat University alumna Ms. Nitcharee Pen-eakchanasak shared her successful testimony of how disability is never an inability. She showcased her ability to live a normal life by swimming, competing in marathons, and winning medals.
In her own words, Ms. Pen-eakchanasak said she never cries when she talks about her tragedy of losing both legs in a train accident. She agreed to have her legs amputated because she believed the pain would go away. Despite the misfortune, she has become a highly successful motivational speaker and the founder of a non-profit organization.
The Rector of Thammasat University, Assoc. Prof. Gasinee Witoonchart, successfully concluded the event. She elaborated on how equality is the most fundamental human right and how it relates to SDG 5, which is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
“Every individual is born with it, no matter your race, nationality, appearance, religion, and, of course, gender. We have to RECOGNIZE and RESPECT this human right of equality for all.”
Secondly, she discussed how women had been treated unfairly and unequally throughout history. However, the world has progressed from the old mindset, and we now live in a world of DIVERSITY, in which gender is no longer viewed as a dichotomy, or as only male and female.
In her speech, she also emphasized how the world has to recognize and respect more than a dozen of sexual orientations, including LGBTTQQIAAP and possibly others. Gender is fluid. The rector concluded that diversity is the foundation of global prosperity today and in the future – “We can only move forward in peace if we embrace diversity. And diversity undoubtedly includes gender and sexuality differences. In summary, I would like to leave you with two R: RECOGNIZE and RESPECT,”
The seminar ended with a question-and-answer session, during which the speakers demonstrated their commitment to gender equity through their responses. Nonetheless, it is up to us as a society to continue to push this matter forward – so that our society can be truly equal for all people of all genders.