Chal­lenges for Women in the pol­i­tics

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Deki Lhaden

The Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of Bhutan (ECB) in col­lab­o­ra­tion with In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute of Democ­racy and Elec­toral As­sis­tance (IDEA) con­ducted the first elec­toral fo­rum on “Women in Pol­i­tics” which em­pathies the need for ed­u­ca­tion to women to bring them into pol­i­tics in the cap­i­tal last Fri­day.

The pro­gram is meant to serve as a fo­rum to dis­cuss on elec­toral mat­ters, or­ga­nize post-elec­tion re­view pro­cesses and con­sul­ta­tions, ef­fec­tively gather views on chal­lenges that need to be ad­dressed be­sides ex­plor­ing al­ter­na­tives for change and com­ple­ment the var­i­ous re­lated ef­fort.

Not only that but also to strengthen and nur­ture demo­cratic cul­ture in Bhutan this fo­rum is meant to be­come a reg­u­lar fea­ture to meet twice a year and dis­cuss on se­lected the­matic ar­eas.

“Equal con­sid­er­a­tion for all may de­mand very un­equal treat­ment in fa­vor of the dis­ad­van­tage,” said Kun­zang Lhamu, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Na­tional Com­mis­sion for Women and Chil­dren, who is a role model to Bhutanese women.

She men­tioned that women in pol­i­tics as per the Global Sta­tus 2015 men­tioned that 13 women served as Heads of State and 12 served as Heads of Gov­ern­ment.

And 17% of gov­ern­ment min­is­ters were women, with ma­jor­ity over­see­ing so­cial sec­tors, such as ed­u­ca­tion and the fam­ily. Where as in Rwanda, it has the high­est num­ber of women par­lia­men­tar­i­ans world­wide with 63.8% of seats in the lower house.

The per­cent­age of women in par­lia­ment has nearly dou­bled in the last 20 years. Only 22% of all na­tional par­lia­men­tar­i­ans were fe­male as of Au­gust 2015 which in­di­cates a slow in­crease from 11.3% in 1995 she men­tioned.

Mean­while, she pointed out that sta­tus across the re­gions of women politi­cians in per­cent­age , the Pa­cific re­gion has low­est 15.7% and Nordic coun­tries has high­est num­ber 41.1% of women politi- cians.

In the year 1998 the Royal De­cree un­der­lin­ing the im­por­tance of women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in pol­i­tics was is­sued but only in the year 2013 was the first fe­male can­di­date ap­pointed as a Cab­i­net Min­is­ter.

In the 7th Pe­ri­odic Re­port UN CEDAW CC “im­ple­ment, sus­tained poli­cies aimed at the pro­mo­tion of women’s full, ac­tive & equal par­tic­i­pa­tion in de­ci­sion making and all ar­eas of pub­lic and po­lit­i­cal life.” It also rec­om­mended the use of Spe­cial Tem­po­rary Mea­sures.

In the gen­der equal­ity pol­icy she clar­i­fied on the mis­un­der­stand­ing on gen­der ‘Neu­tral­ity’ as gen­der ‘Equal­ity’ Misin- ter­pre­ta­tion of ‘Quota’ as ‘Re­served Seats.’

In Bhutan, the main chal­lenges that women faces to par­tic­i­pate in pol­i­tics are lack of ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing, func­tional lan­guage skills, de­ci­sion making, self im­age & self es­teem, dou­ble or triple bur­den she said.

How­ever op­por­tu­ni­ties are also men­tioned to en­cour­age women to par­tic­i­pate in the pol­i­tics by re­view­ing the elec­toral sys­tem and pro­cesses to en­hance women’s par­tic­i­pa­tion, strengthen and sus­tain sup­port mech­a­nisms in­clud­ing groom­ing po­ten­tial women can­di­dates, and en­hanc­ing fe­male ed­u­ca­tion & grad­u­a­tion rates as said by the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of NCWC.

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