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Abstract

Home-based work (subcontracted work to be done at home) is widespread in all regions of Thailand. Most homeworkers use their houses as the workplace for producing textiles and garments, wood products, basketry, artificial flower making, food processing, leather goods and plastics, metal products and jewellery, and then deliver them to the employers or business mediators. This is not the same as production for direct sale. In 2007, the National Statistical Office (NSO) reported that out of the 249,290 households, there were 440,251 people earning their livelihoods through homeworking. Of this number, 337,526 or slightly more than three quarters of them were women and 102,725 were men. This study builds on previous research conducted in 2006 on the status of women homeworkers in Thailand and their use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to promote economic empowerment and generate new income opportunities. Since 2006, Thailand has undergone numerous social, economic, and political changes. Acknowledging the problems homeworkers face, in 2010, the Thai Parliament passed the Homeworkers Protection Act B.E. 2553 and a social protection policy came into force in May 2011. The law mandates fair wages, including equal pay for men and women doing the same job. Even though this Act is in effect, most homeworkers are still not aware of their legal rights and keep working under unfair conditions. This research study will present the enabling and disabling environments, for the material well-being of women homeworkers, their level of awareness and ability to improve their situation, and their access to and control of resources to use ICT to develop their businesses in Thailand’s fast growing digital economy. It will also examine the activities related to gender equality issues in women’s use of ICT and the effects of these efforts for gender governance and women’s economic empowerment.

Note on the Author

Kamolrat Intaratat is Chair of the International Program Communication Arts for ASEAN and Director of Research Center, www.ccdkm.org. Since joining Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Kamolrat has been involved with studies and projects related to ICT4D, empowering more than 350,000 disadvantaged groups in Thailand and the Asia-Pacific. Before joining STOU, Kamolrat’s research focused on agricultural communication. Since 2006 she is the Director of the Research Center of Communication and Development Knowledge Management.

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