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Thai banks move up the ranks

Women make up the majority of the workforce at banks in Thailand, but they still have a way to go before they are equally represented at the top of the banking ladder.

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Pimolpa Suntichok, Deutsche Bank.
Photo: Manachai Phongruchiraphan

In the quest for gender equality in banking and finance, Thailand can tell a pretty good story. Just ask Duangdao Wongpanitkrit, chief financial officer at Bank of Ayudhya, the country’s fifth-largest lender.

Women account for an impressive 69.6% of the bank’s full-time workforce. At board level, where Wongpanitkrit is a director, the proportion falls to 44.4%. That still puts Bank of Ayudhya, or Krungsri as it is known locally, near the top of the class.

“Thailand’s higher share of women in leadership positions in banking and finance, I believe, is attributed to a greater improvement in the gender-balanced labour force,” says Wongpanitkrit, pointing to “merit-based” Thai culture.

Plus numerical skills, integrity, focus, efficiency, and resilience – which are key requirements of the banking industry – are qualities that are overwhelmingly associated with women, she adds.

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Duangdao Wongpanitkrit, Bank of Ayudhya

In the course of her working life, Wongpanitkrit has seen real advances in the career paths of women, with an increasing number taking leadership positions at financial institutions as well as at the central bank, the Stock Exchange of Thailand, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“These