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Thai Politician Paetongtarn Shinawatra Leads Mothers in Politics

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By Tanya Maswaure

Pregnancy is not an Impediment to Achieving Your Dreams.

For several years, women worldwide have been relegated to the backseat in several sectors, especially in modern politics, and as time progressed, women moved more into the working / professional field. A few adjustments to the male-dominated workforce had to be made to accommodate these hard-working women. Most early systems in policies were created to favour men and often did not consider women and their needs in the workplace. Sadly, the inclusion of women is a battle still being fought to date, yet women have not let this delay or deter them. In fact, some leaders lead by example and show the world that they can do it despite several obstacles. One such leader is Paetongtarn Shinawatra.

Paetongtarn Shinawatra made international headlines when she gave birth to a healthy baby boy only two weeks before the general elections, where she was the frontrunner for the Prime Minister position. Her campaign ran throughout her pregnancy; no morning sickness or labour deterred her. She ran virtual rallies just a few days before she went into labour.

Shinawatra is a Thai politician and businesswoman serving as the Pheu Thai Party’s chairwoman in Thailand; she is the youngest daughter and niece of the two former Thai prime ministers, Thaksin and Yingluck, respectively members of the Shinawatra political family in Thailand. Paetongtarn was elected as “Head of the Pheu Thai Family” during a meeting of the Pheu Thai Party on March 20, 2022. When speaking at the Pheu Thai Party’s annual general meeting in April 2022, she said that she wanted to see regime change in Thailand and gain more experience before standing for the country’s prime minister post. She gathered experience and knowledge and preached equality and freedom for all Thai citizens, gaining massive support.

Paetongtarn became the leading prime minister candidate in the opinion polls. On April 2023, she was officially nominated as one of the three prime minister candidates of the Pheu Thai Party for the general election, along with Srettha Thavisin and Chaikasem Nitisiri.

The educated political leader is now a mother of two and an ambitious woman who will let nothing in her way. Her determination, although admirable, did raise a lot of shock worldwide, as pregnancy is not something to be taken lightly.

Pregnancy is a time of joy and excitement, but it also has drawbacks, such as morning sickness, insomnia, exhaustion, and the list goes on. Trying to balance work and pregnancy simultaneously could be a trial run for the significant transition after one becomes a working parent. Research shows that each trimester has its level of difficulty as a woman carries a child. Besides the prevalent morning sickness, there is increased tiredness and a lot of medical demand for pregnant women. Towards the end of the term, women are advised to take it slow and relax as they prepare for the miracle of childbirth. This beautiful process requires time and attention, but so does running for a political position.

Paetongtarn Shinawatra ran a press conference online when she could not be physically present for her supporters towards the end of her term, showing her strength and dedication to her role as a leader. After she gave birth, she posted on her Instagram that she gave birth to a happy baby, and after some rest, she would return to answering the press.

Although the Thai politician handled it all with the help of her family and fellow leaders, not all women can do the same. This is simply because the process of pregnancy is unique and varies per individual.

Women worldwide have different roles and jobs; some who work physically demanding roles may need more than just a video conference to continue getting paid. We must keep these women in mind as we run our companies and listen to our fellow employees. The typical job was designed in favour of men, and the fact that some women can rise above those barriers should not stop us from implementing change. We are in awe and respect for women like Paetongtarn Shinawatra, but their success and resilience should be a sign that women are adaptive, but that alone is not enough. We now have to accommodate all women in all spheres of life. Many women are capable as Paetontarn has shown.

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