Female Police Officers In Thailand: Gender Inequality And Organisational Transformation From A Cultural Perspective

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Buabuttri Siriwat


This research studies the extent to which Thai cultural factors appear to play a crucial role in influencing and/or determining the experiences of female officers in the Royal Thai Police (RTP); the extent and prevalence of gender inequality, and how it can affect recruitment, retention, performance, promotion, and the wider work environment for those officers.  Ultimately, the research seeks to determine and address factors leading to gender inequality within a largely male dominated organisation, as well as suggesting pathways that could be initiated for organisational transformation. The research concludes that gender inequality is present and marked within the organisation.  This finding is broadly consistent with research carried out in Australia, India, Nigeria and the USA, and clearly shows that the Royal Thai Police treats female officers quite differently i.e. as a second-class gender. Interestingly, results arising from this study directly contradict research by the Royal Thai Police conducted in 2014, which found that both female and male officers have equal career opportunities.  Perhaps alarmingly, this study also demonstrated that verbally abusive, sex-based harassment is common, and widely accepted as the norm in the Royal Thai Police when communicated in a seemingly or apparently jocular manner.  Worse, verbally abusive, sex-based harassment was also viewed as a relationship building technique!  Within a broader context, Royal Thai Police executives apparently fail to see the importance of equity and gender balance within the organisation, nor do they comprehend the extent to which female officers face persistent discrimination. 

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