Gender Equality Calendar 2011

This year, the calender that sits on my desk is the UNESCO-UNGEI Asia-Pacific 2011 Gender Equality in Education calendar.

The calendar is filled with wonderful photos captured throughout the Asia-Pacific region as part of a photo contest. Over 250 entries were submitted from 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The photos were taken by students, teachers, government workers, development workers and photographers. The 13 winning photos are featured for the cover and each month of the calendar. You can see the amazing cover photo of school children in Bhutan below.

Gender equality is more than treating women and men exactly the same. It means providing equal access and participation in decision-making processes, social responsibilities and so forth. UNESCO has the specific objective to ensuring that men and women or boys and girls, all have equal access to achieve in education to their highest potential, not on whether they are born male or female.

MDGs in Lao PDR – Gender and Education

This poignant video features a woman describing her life from childhood and her inability to get an education because she had to take care of her younger siblings and do housework. She never learned to read and write and because she was a girl, she was denied the chance for education.
Now, a mother herself, she wishes that both her sons and daughters will have a chance to get good educations.

TED Population growth explained with IKEA boxes

In this TED video, Hans Rosling explains why ending poverty – over the coming decades – is crucial to stop population growth. Only by raising the living standards of the poorest, in an environmentally-friendly way, will population growth stop at 9 billion people in 2050. Instead of using digital media to demonstrate his point, he uses an analog technology available at IKEA with a few props. He uses one IKEA box to represent one billion people. In 1960, the industrialized world comprised of one billion people (blue box) aspiring to buy a car. In contrast, the developing world with two billion people (green box) sought to find food for the day and aspired to buy a pair of shoes.  In 2010, the number of people have increased and their aspirations have changed but the tragedy is that the poorest of the poor as still struggling to get a pair of shoes while the richest group want to travel the world.

Hans Rosling uses Gapminder in his presentation to show the data of children per woman compared to child survival over time. In particular, if child survival is increased to 90%, then population growth can be stopped and it has become the new indicator to strive for.

In Thailand, we have the entire continuum of people from those in the aspiring for shoes, bikes, cars, and airplane. With its roughly 60 million people in the country, we don’t even get to represent the entire population in Thailand using one IKEA box. However, it is interesting to consider the implications of poverty and population growth on Thailand and the world.


Flexible, High-Paying Jobs for Women

I saw this article on Yahoo! today and after I read it I realized that I have considered each of these careers at some point or another. Each of these careers appeals to me for some reason and then I discover that another good point of these careers is that women are able to reach higher paying levels on these career paths when compared to others. I guess I’m just naturally attractive to anything that is more likely to result in more money.

Great Jobs that Profit Women: Five Flexible Careers with Man-Sized Paychecks

by Kate McIntyre

Even today in the 21st century, a significant pay gap exists between working men and women in the United States. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, in 2006 women earned approximately 25 percent less than men in the same occupational group with similar qualifications. This figure is especially distressing because it hasn’t changed appreciably in the last decade. The National Committee on Pay Equity estimates that this wage gap may not close until 2057.

What could explain this disparity? A December 2006 article in the New York Times cites two reasons: gender discrimination and women’s choices to work less than full-time or to stay at home to care for children. Though gender discrimination remains a lingering, insidious issue, women have more options than ever for flexible, lucrative employment. Here are five great jobs for women that are narrowing the gender wage gap.

1. Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advising provides independence, which is great for women. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), one-third of personal financial advisors are self-employed–they set their own hours and schedules and choose how many clients they advise. Also, women often have exceptional communication skills, essential when they explain complicated financial concepts to advisees. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or a related field along with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certification to call yourself a CFP. CFP courses are available online. The BLS reports that personal financial advisor is one of the ten fastest growing occupations through 2016. Median earnings for financial advisors in 2006 were $66,590 per year.

2. Psychologist/Therapist

A career in psychology offers the opportunity to help people find solutions for their emotional issues. Areas of specialization include industrial, clinical, and school psychology. School psychologists work with educators, administrators, and parents to provide a nurturing learning environment for children. They may help students with learning disabilities, behavioral issues, or emotional problems. The schedule usually allows for the same time off as the students and teachers. Because 34 percent of psychologists are self-employed, this career offers flexibility as well. A doctoral degree is usually required to practice psychology at a school, but licensing requirements differ by state. Many family therapists practice with a master’s degree, and both the master’s and the doctorate can be earned online. The BLS reports a median income for 2006 of $61,290 for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists.

3. Entrepreneur

In 2007, women owned over half the businesses in the US. Part of what makes self-employment so enticing for women is the strong networking and support systems in place for women entrepreneurs, along with incredible flexibility. Entrepreneurs parlay their ideas into money-making reality, but a good idea isn’t enough. You’ll want to know business principles like bookkeeping, safety regulations, labor laws, and local licensing requirements. Entrepreneur training programs or business courses in entrepreneurship can give you an edge, as can a business administration degree with a focus in entrepreneurship. Earning potential is unlimited, if you’re the next Debbi Fields or Mary Kay. As far back as the turn of the Twentieth Century, Mme. C.J. Walker said of the millions she made on her Wonderful Hair Grower, “I got my start by giving myself a start.”

4. Education Administrator

Education administrators can work at all levels, from elementary school principals to college deans. They manage staffs of teachers and administrators and often serve as the public face of their institutions, so they must have superlative interpersonal skills. The field of education has always been attractive to women for its progressive human resources policies and the potential for time off during the summer. Most education administrator jobs require a master’s or doctorate degree in education. According to the BLS, administrators at elementary and secondary schools had median salaries of $77,740 in 2006, while post-secondary administrators made $73,990 with salaries ranging significantly higher in some positions and locations.

5. Human Resources Manager

Women have always been the human resources managers of their homes–making sure their family is functioning at its peak potential and that each member feels well cared-for and valued. Women’s communication skills and empathy often distinguish them in human resources, whether they are training staff or handling disbursement of compensation and benefits. If you are looking for more control over your schedule once your career is established, HR consulting can be a great option. Many bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in management offer an emphasis in human resource management. The BLS reports a 2006 median salary of $88,510 for human resources managers.

Some women may deal with personal pressures and societal expectations differently than men do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a satisfying, inspiring, and lucrative career. If you begin your career search with a clear idea of what your ideal job is–both now and years into the future–you may have to compromise less than you might have imagined to find a job with serious responsibilities and fair compensation. With some smart planning, you really can have it all.

Source: Yahoo!

Weight Loss and More at

I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite websites, I’ve been using this site for almost three years and have found that it is the most comprehensive website geared towards healthy weight loss with an overall goal of general fitness that I’ve seen.  Best of all, this fabulous website is free!!

You start off my signing up for an account and right away you input all kinds of information about yourself and your fitness and weight loss goals so that Sparkspeople can generate a realistic and individualized plan for you to reach those goals.

Sparkspeople is filled with features and tools that any person interested in weight loss or weight maintenance will find useful such as: fitness tracker, meal planner, calorie counters for food, calorie counters for exercise, videos of strength training moves, articles on health topics, healthy recipes, and a multitude of message boards with active members.

The website is easy to navigate and looks bright and active because it is filled with lots of color. Many members find fellow Sparkpeople members to support and motivate them on the message boards and I think that this is especially useful for women, who enjoy a sense of community.

Another great thing about Sparkpeople is that they are always adding more features and they have a system of point giving which keeps the site dynamic and interesting. At first, I was so addicted to getting a few more points that it really motivated me to participate in the message forum or read more articles, but after awhile I kept on coming back to the Sparkpeople site for its wealth of information.

Tons of money is spent in the weight loss and fitness industries every year, but at Sparkpeople, they really strive to help you reach your goals without making you spend a penny.

Thais believe Harvard is #1

Harvard is one university name that Thai parents would definitely flaunt around if their child was lucky enough to attend. In fact, Harvard is so close to the word of Buddha, that I’m surprised that we don’t worship it’s crest all around the country. Harvard seems to be equated with the truth and it’s graduates perceived as other worldly.

There is no doubt that Harvard is one of the prestigious ivy league schools in the US and ranks high amongst university across the world. When Vanessa Race began blatantly advertising her Harvard degree in several media appearances and interviews, I became suspect of Harvard’s standing as the definitive “number one” university in the world. The Harvard name seemed to be doing a lot for her reputation in Thailand as a “brain expert” even though she lacks a medical or PhD degree. Her claim that one year in Harvard School of Education made her a expert in the brain and all its intricacies and cost her 10 million baht (approximately 280,000 USD) did little to boast her credibility in my eyes.

A quick Google search revealed that in 2005 Times Higher Education Supplement ranked Harvard University number 1 in the world’s top universities, biomedicine universities, and social science universities categories but failed to rank in the top 25 in the technology universities category. The THES – QS World University Rankings 2007 listed Harvard as #1 as well. Checking US New revealed that in America’s Best Colleges 2008 Princeton usurped Harvard from the number 1 spot by one point in the overall score in the National Universities: Top Schools category. Sorry, but that places Harvard soundly as #2 in America’s list of top universities for this year.

I cannot deny that Harvard is one of the top universities in the US and also the world, but these rankings change yearly. In addition, the ranking of a university and its reputation depends on which category you are considering. As I mentioned earlier, Harvard is not well known as a technological school and if technology is your field, I encouraged you to look into MIT instead. In the field of biomedicine and social science, however, Harvard University can still claim number one in the United States.

My next question is: Can a one year degree from Harvard’s Graduation School of Education really give one the right to be called a brain expert, humbly or otherwise. The list of master’s of education programs included:

  • Arts in Education
  • Education Policy and Management
  • Higher Education, Human Development and Psychology
  • International Education Policy
  • Language and Literacy
  • Learning and Teaching
  • Mind, Brain and Education
  • Risk and Prevention
  • School Leadership
  • Specialized
  • Teacher Education Program
  • Technology, Innovation, and Education

It seems that a person claiming to be a brain specialist with a degree from Harvard probably would have completed the Mind, Brain and Education program. Now the Harvard GSE’s website claims that “The Ed.M. is designed to be a yearlong intensive program for students who wish to study a particular field in education, acquire a general theoretical background for understanding past and future field experiences, or develop skills for use in professional work in education.” Nothing is mentioned in the program outline that states, “this program will make you an expert in the field of study.”

As to the cost of one year in the Harvard Graduate School of Education – tuition is listed as 31,696 USD with room & board adding another 13,905 USD. All together Harvard GSE gives a total master’s student budget of 55,128 USD for one year of study. When converted in the Thai baht, this figure is approximately 1.9 million baht and is a far cry from the fabled 10 million baht suggested by Vanessa Race. I wonder what the other 8 million baht paid for. Perhaps she paid the school fees and attendance costs for herself and 4 of her closest friends.

It seems that Harvard’s reputation has been confirmed, although I wouldn’t be so liberal when making such claims as “number one university in the world” and claiming that a one year master’s program cost 10 million. The only reputation that is still questionable here is Vanessa Race’s.

Thai Advertising Using Female “Kaa sayers”

In Thailand you’ll often see scantily clad Thai women advertising products. Normally, you’ll see these females walking around a crowded area or located by a booth of some sort. They are also known as the “kaa sayers” because they are also calling out to you “Try this, kaa” “A good new tea, kaa” “Not expensive, kaa.” You get the idea. The male version of this is the “krup sayers,” but they don’t stand out as much as their female counterparts.

Their job is to attract you to the product that they are advertising and catch your attention long enough for you to take notice. These women don’t have a hard time catching male attention as they are usually pretty girls with tons of makeup on wearing short skirts or shorts with strappy tops. Go to Chactuchak or MBK any weekend and you’ll bound to run into a few group of people dress in interesting costume. If you are lucky, they might perform a cheer or give you a free sample.  

Of course, using females as advertising agents isn’t an unusual phenomenon. We see women being used in sexy poses and swimsuits to advertise a variety of things like concrete items such as cars and cigarettes to more abstract ideas like love and lust. It seems a little out of place in Thailand though since it is a Buddhist country and as such normal is conservative towards the way women should dress and behave in public. But then again, Thailand does having a thriving sex trade and is well-known for its bar girls and go-go bars.

Watch the video to see how to see women dancing very provocatively at the Motor Show in April 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand. This is atypical in most public areas unless you are searching out this kind of performance (in areas like Patpong and Pattaya this would be commonplace) so seeing it at a Motor Show such as this is unexpected.

Sexy Dance Motor Show 2007 Bangkok Thailand 3
Sexy Dance Motor Show 2007 Bangkok Thailand 3

An 8 min video of several women performing different routines edited together.

Detox results – 2 months later

It has been 9 weeks since I exited the Detox program at Rasayana Resort. Since school has started, many people have been surprised by the change in my appearance. They all want to know my secret.  I think that the cleansing program has acted as a catalyst in my weight loss. While both of the people who did the cleanse with me have lost weight and improve their health in other ways, I had the most dramatic weight loss to date at roughly 6 kilograms.

The amount of weight lost post-detox is surprising to me as well. In the months after the detox I have continued to each more vegetables and fruits, but I have started having more treats like milk teas and desserts. Overall my meals have been lighter and portions remain smaller than pre-detox. Since the school year started and I have been teaching again, I have had less time to exercise consistently during the week. I manage to do a one hour bike ride on the weekends and some weight training 1-2 times a week.

Even at times when I expect no weight loss or even a potential weight gain, I manage to lose a couple more pounds. I really can’t explain the ease at which I am losing weight. I only wish that is was always this easy. Several of the parents at the school have mentioned that they are interested in doing a cleansing program after seeing my results. Since my cousins have not had the experience, the results seem to be atypical. I do think that I have been more consistent in maintaining healthy eating and exercise habits. I am curious to see the results of others who do the cleansing program.

I am really glad that I did the detox, even though the experience was rather trying. I never thought that I would do something like colonic irrigation and be able to stick to such a strict diet. Now I know that I have the willpower to commit to a tough routine if I wish to, at least in the short term. I would definitely recommend that people who are interested in doing a cleansing program try it because the results could be more than you hoped for.

Women who travel solo

Women traveling alone face more risks than men in the same situations. They are often targets for theft, verbal harassment, physical assault and rape. Few women dare to brave these circumstance, particularly if they are in a foreign country. There are a small group of women who enjoy the freedom of traveling solo or in the company of like-minded women. For those who like the freedom of setting your travel plans without having to worry about someone else or are tired of waiting for others to have the spare time to travel, traveling solo may offer an alternative.

Even though you’ll never know what’s going to happen when you’re on the road, there are steps you can take to increase your safety. A bit of preparation and common sense can go a long way in making your journey a success.


  • Research as much as you can about your destination before you leave.

  • Book accommodations in advance.

  • Plant to arrive at a new city in the daylight hours.

  • Give a friend or relative your detailed trip itinerary and plan to communicate with they regularly.

  • Keep photocopies of your passport, credit card, airline tickets and other important documents.

  • Pack light and leave valuables at home.

  • Carry a basic first aid kit and any prescriptions you need.

Common Sense

  • Only carry enough cash for one day in your wallet.

  • Keep your spare money in a body pouch along with your passport.

  • Learn the culture of the places you’re visitng and follow the local customs.

  • Study a map of the area before going out to explore.

  • Ask hotel staff where to go and where not to go.

  • Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.

  • Stay in well-lit areas.

  • Don’t tell strangers your travel plans in detail.

  • Avoid form-fitting or very revealing clothes.

  • Trust your instincts.

For more information, check out Journeywoman and Women’s Travel Club.