Controversial ex-MP woos Phuket women
PHUKET: Ladawan Wongsriwong, leader of the contrroversial Women’s Voice Association (WVA) visited Phuket last Sunday (October 23) to call for support from local Phuket women, with the aim of creating a network of women’s groups “aware of their role in democracy”, and to link them to international women’s associations.
Friday 28 October 2011, 06:42PM
Established in 2009 by Ladawan, a former People’s Power Party MP who was banned from politics by the courts, the WVA has been focusing on women’s empowerment and relieving victims from human trafficking and prostitution especially in the north of Thailand.
Though Ms Ladawan carefully insists that the principle of WVA is to ensure the rights of women in society, without siding with any particular political party, the WVA is seen by many as being closely allied to the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, better known as the Red Shirts.
Others see it as a political movement having close links with the ruling Pheu Thai Party (which grew out of the People’s Power Party (PPP). The Constitutional Court in 2006 banned Ladawan from politics for five years in a cull of 110 PPP politicians.
Ms Ladawan has set a goal for the WVA to have three million members in 78,517 villages around the country.
Last Sunday, more than 100 Phuket women joined in a meeting with Ms Ladawan at Phuket Town Inn in Phuket Town.
She urged women to join her in pushing the government to enforce greater equality between men and women, including open registration for nuns to be “legal religious icon like monks”, and serious laws to prevent prostitution.
With the government proposing to give B100 million to fund women in each province, Ms Ladawan pointed out that the budget will benefit Phuket women as well.
“Women in this generation must work, and be smart. Phuket women must search for their own strength to increase their potential to live strongly in society,” said Ms Ladawan.
She suggested that Phuket has high potential to be an OTOP centre, if there is support from local women as producers.
Participants agreed to arrange public hearings in their communities and report back to the WVA soon.