Bhutan’s gender inequality index
Bhutan differs greatly in size from it closest regional neighbors and also differs in the history of planned development.
According to the Bhutan Gender Equality Diagnostic of Selected Sectors (GEDSS) reports it states that, Bhutan’s gender inequality index in 2012 was less unequal than the neighboring countries with .464. Whereas, for neighboring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India had .485, .518, .567 and .610 respectively. But the Republic of China is the least unequal in gender inequality with .213.
The report says that gender inequality is the composite measure reflecting inequality in achievement between women and men in three dimensions like reproductive health, empowerment, and the labour market. The lowest value is the least unequal.
In terms of maternal mortality ratios, Bhutan remain highest at 180 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010; but this has come down from an estimated 430 deaths in 2000 which is a significant achievement in a short period of time and the literacy rate for women aged 15 and over is lower in Bhutan that is 65 male / 39 female in the year 2005-2010 but Bhutan has made rapid progress in recent decades in increasing access to education and achieving gender parity in basic education, states the report.
Minister for Works and Human Settlement and the Chairperson of National Commission for Women and Children, Lyonpo Dorji Choden said, numerous projected program targeted towards women empowerment and our education. Awareness program is a continuing program and this is some of the program that we are under taking. This are initiative since the earlier plan but now with the further expanded and exaggerated under the broad 11th Five Year Plan’s goal creating enabling environment for a women participating.
Women are poorly represented in decision-making position in Parliament and the civil services in the country. The report on Bhutan Gender Equality Diagnostic of Selected Sectors (GEDSS) states that, few women became members of Parliament in the first round of national democratic election in 2008.
Some of the contributing factors that results in the less number of women participated in the politics are that the reports shows that, the small number of women who stood as candidates, the high minimum qualification, a university degree, which tends to exclude more women than men and the small pool of women in the senior public service that provided the major talent pool for electoral candidates.
The reports further states that, during the second parliament in 2013, this election resulted in even fewer elected women. Women accounted for three of the 47 members elected to the National Assembly in 2013, compared with four in 2008; and no women were elected to the National Council in 2013, compared with three in the 2008.
The representation of women in the civil service, particularly at the upper levels with the most influence on decisions about the policy was also not very much compared to the male. According to the report, in 2012, women accounted for 36 percent of all civil servants and only six percent of civil servants in the executive category. There is only one woman among the twenty Dzongdags, very few judges are women.
Meanwhile, the Bhutan Gender Equality Diagnostic of Selected Sectors ( GEDSS) report was launched on 26th August by Lyonpo Dorji Choden.