Challenges for Women in the politics
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.