Gender, Socioeconomic Activities and How the Elderly Create Sustainable Livelihoods

By: Rattiya Fisher  

Thailand rapidly became an aging society, the majority of whom reside in rural areas in which are labelled as being dependent on the state. Policies have been implemented to address the perceived burden of the elderly on communities and the state as most elderly are engaged in agricultural work that is not covered by any formal welfare. They are assumed to be abandoned to the difficulties of their lives and struggle to live. The sustainable livelihood framework and a gender perspective were applied to investigate how various socioeconomic activities of the elderly enable them to access resources for the maintenance of their lives and contribute to society without being a burden. Focus groups and in-depth interviews with male and female elderly and carers were conducted to distinguish the various activities that serve their differing livelihood needs. The study highlights that the socioeconomic activities of the elderly at household and community levels enable them to cultivate and utilize various assets for their own and other’s needs. Gender roles determine the different socioeconomic activities that the elderly engage in and the range of assets they can access. These activities enable the elderly to maintain their lives and those of others despite insufficient state support. Both male and female elderly continue to actively engage in and contribute to families and the communities to which they belong. In implementing ageing policy in Thailand, the government needs to consider gender differentiation and abilities of the elderly.

Gender, Sustainable livelihoods
Public Policy and Public Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Rattiya Fisher

Lecturer, Social Development, University of Phayao

Rattiya Fisher has been working as a lecturer at the Department of Social Development, University of Phayao, Thailand, since 2010. She has taught modules related to social policy and sociology. Rattiya earned her undergraduate degree in economics from Chiang Mai University, Thailand, before working as a project analyst for an environmental project, and later as a project coordinator with JICA, working with people affected by HIV. Rattiya studied for her M.A. in Social Development at Naresuan University, and her PhD in Social Policy and Administration at the University of Nottingham, UK, in 2018. Her field of interests are in the areas of ageing and policy.