Dr. Suteera Vichitrada
Dr. Suteera Vichitranonda is currently the President of the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women and President of the Gender and Development Research Institute Foundation in Thailand. Having founded the Gender and Development Research Institute in 1991, Dr.Suteera has been at the forefront in carrying out action research on policy issues to advance the status of women and in advocating for gender equality. Using a positive approach and gender information, she has brought about many gains for women including constitutional rights, clear governmental policies on women, and increased participation of women in decision-making among others.
In recognition of the ill-defined status of Buddhist nuns in Thailand, she has devotedly followed the footstep of her predecessor, Maechee Khunying Kanitha Wichiancharoen, and has provided full support for the promotion of Buddhist education for nuns through Maha Pajapati Theri Wittayalai or better known as the Nuns’ College, located in Pakthongchai Nakorn Rajasima province.
The strong linkages between the Nuns’ College and the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women (APSW) under the leadership of Dr.Suteera date back over 10 years when the effort to promote the educational status of nuns was initiated. Dr.Suteera has been closely involved with it from the very beginning and offered the facilities at the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women for the first two years of teaching before the College site at Pakthongchai was ready in 2003. During the past three years since Mahapajapati Theri Wittayalai has fully operated at Pakthongchai, despite the distance, Dr.Suteera has ensured that support is made available to the extent possible. This covers administrative support, provision of scholarships for students, a practical training site for students prior to their graduation, facilitation for short-term training, and provision of training instructors. With respect to the status of nuns, Dr.Suteera, whenever opportunities prevail, regularly raises the issue for the authorities concerned for consideration and clarification.
Dr.Suteera’s full commitment and selfless devotion for the cause of women has been an inspiration to all those who know her and have worked with her.