Ethnic Traditions: Women’s Well-being in Four Ethnic Groups in Northern Thailand
Keywords:gender, well-being, matrilineal, patrilineal, thailand
Objective: This study aimed to explore the perceived well-being expressed by women of four minority ethnic groups, the Lue, Lua, Mein, and Hmong, in the Nan province of northern Thailand.
Design: Qualitative study was employed. Seventy women aged 18-60 of the Lue, Lua, Mein, and Hmong participated in focus group discussions and in-depth interviews conducted in October 2008-August 2009. Content analysis was employed.
Results: The four major fndings were 1) women’s well-being is related to ethnic traditions and family life, 2) Lue and Lua women exert more control over family and community life than Mein and Hmong women, 3) ethnic traditions are more powerful in women’s lives than state law, and 4) Hmong women experience poorer well-being than Lue, Lua, and Mein women.
Conclusion: Strong ethnic traditions create conditions that frustrate women’s efforts to achieve well-being. Increasing opportunities for women to gain education and employment alone do not guarantee the conditions necessary for women’s overall well-being.
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