The objective of this research was to study the transformation of roles and functions of women in the northeast region of Thailand since the 1st century up the 21st century. Documentary research was used for this research with content analysis used to analyze the data. The research findings revealed that the Isaan women’s roles and functions had changed constantly which can be described through three main periods. Firstly, during the arrival of states (between 1 and 1800 A.D.) the arrivals of Indianisation – such as Hinduism, Theravada Buddhism and the patrilineal ideology – were the driving forces that transformed the relationship between men and women from a horizontal perspective to vertical. Secondly, during the period of absolute monarchy under the Chakri Dynasty (between 1801 and 1931 A.D.), there was no empirical evidence identifying the changing roles and functions of Isaan women, however, this was the starting point for women’s rights and freedoms along with their empowerment through education. Thirdly, the period of the democracy revolution and the national economic and social development plans (between 1932 and 2016 A.D.) may be regarded as being significant in generating the changing roles and functions of Isaan women in the dimensions of socio-culture, economics, and politics. Interestingly, it was found that democracy was the essential portal that allowed Isaan women to follow up on their opportunities.
Keywords: Northeast Region of Thailand, Transformation, Woman’s Roles and Functions
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