Thailand: Women Protesters Leading a Struggle Against Patriarchy

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Bangkok, Thailand, September 24, 2020. Protest waves sweeping the world in 2020 are just now beginning to receive widespread attention in terms of women´s liberation. Lebanon can hardly at this point be cited as any kind of success story, but women have played unprecedented roles in protests in Beirut and elsewhere. Many women, especially young ones, have also been learning to stretch their wings and assume important leadership responsibilities in a rapidly changing, dynamic political landscape as fraught with opportunity as it is danger.

For weeks, tens of thousands of protesters have gathered and some sources even speak of an overrepresentation in these crowds of young women making up more than half of the group.

In years past, women were a distinct minority in protests. But something new is afoot these days, and the protest is not directed just at the traditional patriarchal pillars of society, monarchy, military, and monkhood, but at patriarchy itself.

Many of the earliest and most vocal organizers of protests in 2020 have been female students and now they appear a majority at the most recent protests. Young women in Thailand have much to gain from rebelling against traditional patriarchal authority, hence the enthusiasm. Issues that have been debated for decades in other countries, are only now being aired, such as abortion, and even taxes on menstrual products. School rules that force girls to conform to an outdated version of femininity are also receiving a lot of criticism and resistance.

In their own words going viral across the world, these young women protesters seek to destroy ¨the male superiority structure¨ especially insofar as it is perpetuated ¨under the monarchy¨, revolutionary words indeed.

Of course, this is happening not just in Thailand but something very similar is also going on in Belarus, where hundreds of women were arrested last week while marching in Minsk to protest the return to power of the country’s strongman, President Lukashenko.

Women have taken part in previous protest movements in Thailand and there have been several over the past couple of decades. A core of so-called aunties, many from rural areas ignored by Bangkok’s ruling elite, were integral to an opposition force called the Red Shirts, who occupied downtown Bangkok for weeks before a bloody crackdown in 2010. In terms of protest leadership, however, women had been mostly absent, until now.

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Protest2020! 2020 is the year of protest, ushered in on the heels of 2019, which saw numerous social explosions in the last few months of the year. Climate change, in particular, is feeding a well-founded sense of fear, particularly among the vulnerable and their activist allies whose lives and futures are highly precarious. In fact, all of us are vulnerable, and awareness is growing of the way in which we are all in this together. While in most places, most notably Hong Kong, protests have turned violent and thousands of arrests have been made, there have not yet been large numbers of fatalities, although dozens of protestors have died and continue to die in South America. In other parts of the world, most notably the Middle East – home to warfare for decades – particularly in Iraq and its neighbor and former enemy Iran, hundreds of protestors have been killed with live, military-grade ammunition. After 5 years of civil war in Syria, protest has given way to military action hand in hand with death and destruction. The numbers of people murdered by the governments of the region are not fully known, and especially hard to verify in Iran, where a brutal religious dictatorship maintains a thick cloak of secrecy over such information.

Iran and its allies in Iraq are now moving precipitously towards war with the United States, in part because the mentally ill president of that country needs to wage war in order to win reelection. Large parts of the world that are the most vulnerable to the ravages of climate change are already suffering; places like the Philippines are experiencing devastating and lethal storms, one after the other, breaking all historical records.

Much of Australia has been on fire for months as we ring in 2020, accompanied by the hottest temperatures on record. This is changing Australian lives, politics, and the consciousness of the ordinary Australian who is now getting involved in the struggle to save their island, and coming to a better understanding of how their survival is linked to the rest of the world. In Japan, forces are growing in protest to push the Japanese government towards support for the Hong Kong protestors, confronting mainland China; also supporting the struggles of minority groups in mainland China, reporting on government abuses, etc. The US government has expressed its full support for the Hong Kong protestors, further escalating tensions between these two superpowers along with ally Russia. These tensions were already at their most aggravated moments as a result of the US/China trade war.

To make matters still worse, especially for SE Asia, the North Korean dictator is threatening the use of a new strategic weapon. Our world on the arrival first of 2020 and now 2021, is a tinderbox as never before. The 2020 presidential elections in the USA will be the single greatest determining factor for the survival of the planet. Given that the current president preaches a doctrine of conflict and confrontation rather than collaboration, and denies that climate change is even exacerbated by man-made actions, if he is re-elected, there will be little hope for our world in the short term.

Here at, we invite you to protest, share your views, and help us all to march towards a more sustainable and peaceful world that will not totally implode, at least within our lifetimes, leaving hope for life to continue in more intelligent forms, better appreciating our planetary home. We ultimately seek harmony with nature so as to preserve life as we know it, as we dream it could be. Everything depends on how hard we are willing to fight to make it so.


Let’s get arrested, the more the merrier!