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Thailand

In Thailand , the first Women' Studies Centre was established in 1981. Women's/Gender Studies evolved from grassroots outreach programmes and from the direct involvement of feminist academics in NGOs apart from their academic responsibilities. This drove the establishment of the Women's Studies Centre and a Master's degree programme at Chiangmai University in 2000. The Women's and Youth Studies Programme in Thammasat University , on the other hand, came from ‘the top,' as its first woman president inspired it. This Programme is currently administratively located under the Office of the University President. Both Universities offer Master's Degrees in Women's Studies and are sustained by the involvement of academics from other universities, departments and colleges in teaching, research and outreach, thus cross-cutting gender through the disciplines.


The Women's Studies Centre at Chiangmai University relies more on external support for activities and core funding of its staff than from government funds, unlike more mainstream departments of the University. Thammasat University , for its part, runs its Women's and Youth Studies Programme as a special programme in order to obtain a much higher tuition rate than regular programmes. This is due in large part to government downsizing and weak recognition of the need for gender equality and equity in society, especially in the newly restructured Ministry of Education, as well as insufficient resources for the National Commission on Women's Affairs committed for education in WS/GS. Academics in both universities believe that State support would serve to further legitimize, strengthen and institutionalize WS/GS into regular programmes or departments in these universities, as well as in other institutions in the making. Efforts are, therefore, underway to make this happen.


The Gender and Development Studies (GDS) Field of Study at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) is an autonomous post-graduate degree-awarding unit located within the School of Environment, Resources & Development together with nine other Fields of Study that are interdisciplinary in nature. Students come from different countries worldwide, but mostly from Asia , as AIT is an international institution of higher education principally serving the development, management, technology and infrastructure needs of the Asian region since 1959. GDS was established in 1997 as an outcome of a Women-in-Development research and outreach project that started in 1992. Like other fields of study at AIT, GDS relies largely on donor funds for scholarships for its students and external support for its research and outreach activities that provide core funding for its staff. To date, GDS is the only regional post-graduate degree-awarding unit existing with a substantial number of yearly student applications that indicate the growing interest in gender and development in the region and an expanding job market especially in the Mekong sub-region. However, the existing number of scholarships is unable to provide adequately for the volume of applications every year.


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