Case Studies

Human Dignity and Equality

Respect for gender differences and rights the focus of innovative Chula activities

Gender equality has long been a challenge the world over, as gender attitudes are deeply rooted in and influenced by culture and tradition. UN Women has warned that there is still a long way to go to achieve full equality of rights and opportunities between men and women.

Chulalongkorn University has embraced the challenge, and has continuously come up with projects and activities to highlight various aspects of the drive for equality. In September 2019, two events were held to raise the public’s awareness of gender equality and respect for human dignity.

“HeForShe University Tour” was a joint effort of several leading universities in Thailand, including Chulalongkorn University, to tackle the issue from the perspective of university campuses, focusing on the impact of gender inequality on their communities.

The event, the first of its kind in Asia, was initiated in collaboration with UN Women and Thailand’s Commission on the Promotion of the Rights of Women and Children. It was part of a UN-initiated movement in 2010 to end gender inequality by engaging everyone’s participation, especially boys and men.

After all, gender equality and women’s empowerment is not about excluding or hating men, but it aims to achieve a gender-equal society where men, women and people of other genders have access to equal opportunity in every aspect of life.

The HeForShe Tour provided a forum for critical discussion and invited victims of gender violence to tell their painful stories, including domestic violence, sexual assault and gender discrimination in the family, work or public places.

Another heart-rending experience at the Tour was an exhibition called #DontTellMeHowToDress, in which clothes worn by victims of sexual violence when they were assaulted were displayed, along with powerful messages attempting to clear myths and misconceptions about sexual violence. The exhibition was curated by the model and entertainment celebrity Cindy Sirinya Bishop.

Many interesting views and suggestions were heard from speakers and participants. Among them, Associate Professor Dr Wasana Wongsurawat commented that a university should prepare students to face the reality of the world waiting for them in the future, which includes creating psychological mechanisms to help them truly understand gender equality issue.

A student representative suggested that a friendly and privacy-protected channel for complaints of sexual violence should be established. Society should also provide support and stop blaming the victims.

Prejudice against victims of sexual violence, known as secondary victimization of sexual assault victims, is often portrayed in the media. The Faculty of Mass Communications at Chulalongkorn University brought the issue of human rights and gender-sensitive reporting to public attention with a panel discussion on “Thai Media and Human Rights Respect and Protection in Delicate Situations”.

Authorities, members of the media and the general public were invited to share their views with the aim of improving the quality of reporting related to human rights, and respect for vulnerable groups such as the disabled, gender-diverse people (LGBT), ethnic groups, the elderly and others.

At the end of the thought-provoking discussion, the panel suggested that the media must adjust their mindset and make “human values” part of their “news values”.

Quality should be the selling point of news content, voices of vulnerable groups must be heard, and the tone and angle of news reports should reflect positive attitudes and respect for human rights. Social values that promote quality of life, economic and career opportunity, political and citizenship participation must be fully observed.

In a world of cultural and identity diversity, it’s imperative for various agencies and people to engage in conscientious communication about gender equality to promote and protect everyone’s rights to equality.

As Chulalongkorn University is committed to playing its part in raising awareness of gender equality and respect for human dignity, it is everyone’s responsibility to make a difference in their respective role to end human inequality to create a world of peace without bias and discrimination.

This article was originally published in CU Around October 2019, Vol.62, Issue 10, Page 10, available at https://www.chula.ac.th/magazine/23663/

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Chulalongkorn University has been using a plot of public land that had been left vacant to create a high-technology institute for the educational development of residents of Nan province.

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Chulalongkorn University began managing hazardous and chemical waste at the university under a 10-year management project that ran under the control of the Center of Excellence for the Management of Chemical and Hazardous Waste from 2006 until 2016. Currently, the task of managing chemical and hazardous waste is under the jurisdiction of the Center for Safety, Vocational Health and Environment of Chulalongkorn University.