Editorial: January 2019
Having my own company means that I have never had to face any sexual inequality in my workplace. And having my two best friends from childhood working beside me — one is our production manager of 20 years, another our sales manager of nearly ten — means that women haven’t, as far as I know, felt any inequality here either. So that’s good. But the fact is it exists and women around the world live and work in frustration over the unfairness of it all.
I have been very active with women’s groups and women’s issues all of my professional life, though to be honest, I have put my focus on other matters and neglected my fellow sisters somewhat over the past few years.
In my thirties, as I worked to build up my business, I was extremely active in women’s matters. I was a member of the Business and Professional Women’s Association, taking numerous trips to various workshops and summits in Bangkok and Seoul where I was appointed president of the group’s alumni. I gave a talk in Hanoi at an APEC summit for women on passion in the workplace.
I joined the World Summit of Women Entrepreneurs in Cairo and was also awarded second prize in Thailand for promising young entrepreneur by The Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World, amongst whose exclusive members of a few hundred women included Body Shop’s Annita Roddick and Donna Karen. At the end of the day, the reason I kept going back to these summits and conferences wasn’t about anything special I was learning there, nor did I make any business connections of use to my regional media company. What I brought back from each experience was simple; inspiration. Every time I returned from one of my trips, I was full of energy, I was inspired and fueled with passion. Of course I have met many inspiring men, but when you are young and bright eyed, to have a roomful of powerful, intelligent and successful women talking to you, as a young women entrepreneur, well, that is just about as good as it gets.
While we have come so far and achieved so much, women worldwide still have many battles to fight, from the rights to control our own bodies to our political representation…which kind of makes me smile because of this month’s cover picture! (While we did once have a cover story featuring Mayor Deuntemduang Na-Chiengmai, her time as mayor ended under a dark cloud when a private image of her and her husband was hacked by a political opposition and distributed on CDs to markets all over the city, ending her political career in her beloved home town, again driving home the double standard at play. Because who here believes our male political leaders are all talcum-powder clean?
So it was an honour to be invited by Brittnee Bond, organiser of the upcoming Bond Women’s Festival, interviewed this month, to join a panel discussion at her festival to foster women entrepreneurship, empowerment and expression. I am looking forward to get talking and thinking about women’s issues again. I have many passions — they often change month by month as Citylife tackles a new topic…fickle me! — but furthering the causes of women and ensuring we are treated with equality has never been far from my mind. While I am no role model, I have had moments of success in my professional life and there are things I have achieved which I take great pride in. I also have many many — did I say many? — cautionary tales based on my many mistakes, which someone might learn from! And I can think of nothing more wonderful than to perhaps have the opportunity to say something that will have some young aspiring young entrepreneur in the crowd draw inspiration from.
Citylife this month:
This is our Q&A issue with most of our questions being directed at the three men who grace our covers, the three men who run our city — the President of the Provincial Administration Organisation, The Governor and The Mayor. We ask them to share with us their vision and priorities for Chiang Mai in 2019. I also happened to meet, and managed to cajole to sit down for an impromptu interview, two police colonels working to combat child trafficking, their answers to my questions assuring me that much is being done to fight this scourge. And Tus Werayutwattana dives deep and we hope you enjoy her article which looks at how we are adjusting to and what needs to be done to continue to attract Chinese tourists.