Women can be politicians too!
Women cannot, women are for bearing and caring a child, women are for household choirs, voices echoed in lost history.
Now, there is a rising calls for more women to participate in politics, however, there’s something keeping them out as was discussed during the third national conference on women in politics, leadership and governance in Thimphu on November 27-28.
“Various studies on women’s participation in politics have been conducted, and all the studies point towards similar factors contributing to lesser numbers of women participating, stereotypes and prejudices, lower self confidence, and literary levels, triple burden of women and the lack of enabling environment,” Kunzang Lhamu, Director, National Comission for Women and Children (NCWC) said.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Bhutan, Gerald Daly also said,“The inclusion of women in political decision making is not just about women’s rights to equality and participation in the electives office, it is also about using women’s potential to determine political and development priorities that benefit the society at large,” Gerald Daly, UN Resident Coordinator, Bhutan.
“A parliament should be as diverse as the population it is representing both regarding disabilities, sexuality and minorities, but also regarding gender. When a parliament reflects the population it represents, it is able to take better and more qualified decisions for the country as a whole, as all voices have been heard,” Pia Olsen Dhyr, MP and Leader of Socialist People’s Party, Denmark said.
In the two days event, female Members of Parliament (MPs), Gups, Mangmis, others who had contested, shared their experiences during elections and it shed light on the difficulties they faced.
“I almost gave up politics but rejuvenate when election was nearing. I am citizen of the country and I have right to participate,” MP, Tshewang Lhamu said.
Talking on having greater diversity in the political agenda where leadeship is male dominant, Vice President of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, Lily Wangchuk said,“It is not the responsibility of people in the room but shared responsibility of men and women.”
Former Mangmi, Dogar, Paro, Tsheten Zangmo also shared that people favor men as their leader due to their mindset to choose and said, “I have served
equivalent to males but I dont want to commit that i have did better than male.”
Mangmi, Shongphu, Trashigang, Dhendup Dema said that the mindset on people should be changed on what can a women do and how she is going to work if she gets conceived.
Gup contestant from Pema Gatshel, Lhaki Wangmo suggested that one has to be popular to win the election and able to digests the criticisms from people.
“I did not get support from family members, said Sonam Dema, a Gup contestant from Samar Gewog, Haa. “I did not find women different from men in particiapating in the politics. Women can do what men can do,” she said adamantly and wants to participate again.
MP, Norbu Wangzom aslo shared her hurdles in having support from family members, “If we have will, we can do it,” she added.
Giving the scenario of the Bhutanese status in authority, Gerald Daly said that the Bhutanese women now holds various government posts at the highest decision making bodies.
In addition, he said that for more women to participate in politics, there needs to provide mentoring and on the job training.
“Women, all over the world and in Bhutan are still under-represented in elected positions and most countries are far from reaching the gender balance,” Gerald Daly said.
He asked men to equally partner with women in advancing women into leadership positions. “Let us all start by empowering our women, young and old, to ensure that every woman is valuable and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to be equal as men in every sphere of their lives,” he added.
The second day also saw discussions on the need of having quota for women in politics. On quota system, Dr Binda Pandey, MP, Nepal said,“After struggling for 25 long years, we finally have quota form women in Nepal. But there is still a long way to go to make tangible achievements.”
“Quotas improve the number of women in politics. This has been proven in many different country contexts. But quotas are not responsible for the way society treats women political leaders. We need to look much deeper at our social and cultural norms and start valuing the contribution that women can and do make to politics, leadership, and governance,” Sonia Palmier, consultant to NCWC said.
In the closing remark, Wangchuk Namgyel, National Assembly Speaker said,“We cannot rest, ours is a small country. We can bring about change quickly. We can do something to increase the number of women in leadeship positions. We need the numbers. Numbers matter.”
The two days event also recognised political parties, media, and individuals for their participation, stamina, and perseverence in pushing the gender agenda in politics, leadership, and governance.
The objectives of the con- ference was to enhance visibility and voice of Bhutan in politics, leadership and governance in Bhutan.
Presently, there are one women minister, four MPs in National Council, seven MPs in National Assembly, three thromde representatives, nine thromde tshogpas, two gups, 24 mangmis and 136 tshogpas.
World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2017 ranks Bhutan 124 out of 144 countries, mostly due to its economic participation and political empowerment indicators.
The stakeholders meeting was conducted among members of parliament, representatives of local government elected and non-elected, civil society organizations, media and other relevant agencies.
There is a rising calls for more women to participate in politics, however, there’s something keeping them out as was discussed during the third national conference on women in politics, leadership and governance in Thimphu on November 27-28.