Making the Internet work for Thai women
We surveyed 700 women in urban and rural Thailand, 400 Internet users and 300 non-users.
Many of our respondents are self-employed, and even more harbour entrepreneurial ambitions.
But jobs don’t necessarily translate to Internet use to the same extent they do for women we surveyed in other emerging markets. Many women said they don’t have the time to go online, or that the Internet isn’t relevant to their responsibilities. For Thai women who aren’t yet online, the Internet’s chief value is its ability to increase their professional opportunities and connect them to their families.
For some, work is a barrier to going online.
For the women we surveyed in Thailand, work is less of a gateway to Internet use, compared to their counterparts in other countries.
Often, the women’s jobs don’t require or provide Internet access. There’s also a sense that spending time online is self-indulgent, or irrelevant to their responsibilities.
Many women don’t have the time, or see the need to go online.
Many of our respondents are self-employed. These barriers affect them even more.
The Thai women in our survey are entrepreneurial: many work for themselves, or plan to. However, self-employment is more common among Internet non-users.
They have a strong thirst for learning and knowledge.
"My mom and grandma expect me to finish school. They expect me to become a leader."
— Anonymous, Bangkok, aged 18-24
Smartphones can seem intimidating.
Many non-users over 35 left school at a young age, and question whether they’re educated enough to go online.
Most women surveyed use a smartphone. But non-Internet users found their phones’ Thai language keyboards intimidating—even for replying to texts.
"I’m not good at typing. If someone sends me a message, I don’t know how to respond."
Looking to the Internet for opportunities — and more.
The women we surveyed want to provide for their families and communities. Those who were online found the Internet useful for education and communication, not just entertainment.
Internet helps them access any information they want.
Internet makes it easy to further education and learning.
Internet keeps them entertained.
Internet makes it easy to communicate with people important to them.
"For me, the Internet is like being everywhere in the world at once."
Thai women want to connect to — and through — their community.
The women we spoke to wanted to learn how to use the Internet with their families and their friends, rather than through formal courses. Often, these are the same people they’ll be using the Internet to connect to.
Internet-enabled community areas like schools could be a safe, friendly environment for learning.
"With the Internet, women will start their own businesses, and find a way to market their creativity. With the Internet, a woman will be able to stay in the community she loves."