The need for women leaders
Despite proclaiming itself a gender-neutral country, Bhutan has only 15% women representation in Parliament, one of the lowest in the world. In fact, women representation in positions of leadership, governance and politics has always been sparse in Bhutan.
Starting from the 2008 parliamentary elections, which saw 10 women candidates from the two parties and 14% of them elected to the 2013 elections where 10 women took part and 8% of them were elected. Also, the first female minister was appointed after the second democratic elections. The third elections in 2018 saw all five women candidates from Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa elected and two from Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s five women candidates elected while two women candidates from People’s Democratic Party and six women candidates from Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party including the President herself lost in the primary elections. There was a status quo in women representation in the first two elections but the number went up to 18 in 2018, a rise by less than 50% in participation. Only about 15% of the parliament is formed by women now.
While we do see that women in Bhutan are slowly vying for roles beyond the hearth, we need more debate on the role of men and women and why we need more women leaders.
However, there is a crucial context we should take into account while discussing this. Everybody knows that men are women are different by all accounts-biologically, physically, emotionally and mentally. So when women or people say that women are better than men or vice versa, it does not make sense because women and men are totally different by nature and they flourish and prosper in positions and fields which accentuate their nature. Occupations which go against the very grain of their nature is not even recommended for women, leave competing with men.
Consider the woman’s curves and the man’s angular lines. What we have to understand is women are softer and nurturers by nature (their bodies were not created to be mothers by freak of nature; it was in fact designed by nature). And women therefore are compassionate, too. They look out for others. And what better way to capitalize on this lovely trait than by encouraging them to lead? (Yes, we need both men and women leaders).
Whether it be politics, medicine, academia, the arts or even a full-time homemaker, women can shape, inspire and raise generations who will live out their full potential and contribute to humanity.
While men and women should certainly be complementing each other in their roles (they were made for each other not against each other), both require equal opportunities and freedom to be and do the best they can, and that means that women might need more impetus, encouragement and incentives than men in certain areas they are lacking because it is evident from history that a great divide has been created between men and women in terms of progress, privileges and advancement simply because women were not given the opportunities they deserved like access to education and exposure.
It must also be noted that men bashing is a very petty level of feminism if we can call it that. True feminism should celebrate the strengths, potential and beauty of the woman instead of the weaknesses and regression and flaws of man. True feminism should love women without hating men: as simple as that.
At the end, men and women were meant to inhabit, thrive and populate the earth. And living in synergy with understanding, love and compassion towards each other is the only way for the human species to survive and move forward.
Meanwhile, women leaders can bring a whole new perspective to the role of a leader. She can calm, soothe, heal, motivate yet she can still practice tough love to bring about desired results because a mature and capable woman knows how to lead with both the heart and the head.
Let us shout out to all the women leaders out there who are already making a difference by their perseverance and tenacity in the face of challenges that require balancing of multiple areas and roles in their life and nature. And let us encourage would-be, aspiring ones to take up the mantle of shining their light in a world that needs their awesomeness.