Skip to main content

Going Beyond Elections

Women empowerment is a recent phenomenon in Bhutan. And unfortunately, many of us today have narrowed it down to having more women contest elections. Although it is true that empowered women are more likely to take part in the elections, empowering women is more than that. 

Because elections can have only so much women; at the most, we are talking about 72 women getting elected as members of the parliaments, 205 gupsmangmi and some 1,000 plus women tshogpas. But what about the others, who are not part of the process? 

It is important that we invest in educating our women and girls. Our NGO, READ Bhutan, believes education is the most critical component of women empowerment. So, all our efforts are targeted at providing opportunities for women to learn and educate them on all spheres of life. Possessing literacy skills is another element especially if someone is contesting elections in Bhutan. In Bhutan, aspiring candidates have to pass Functional Literacy Tests (FLT) to stand as candidates for local government elections. Therefore, it is important that we provide literacy training for women who have not had the opportunities to go to school earlier. That way they will not only pass FLTs but also do well once they are elected.
Contesting in elections requires confident candidates with good public speaking skills. So, we need to groom and nurture aspiring women candidates. We must organize regular confidence building workshops and conferences.

READ Bhutan conducts confidence building and public speaking workshops for our women and girls in rural areas and the impact is there to see, especially with those who have undergone these programs. Girls, because we believe empowerment must happen early on and need not have to wait until they are women! 

We also conduct awareness programs on gender and how some cultural norms are detrimental when it comes to women's active participation in civic life. Leadership program is another regular program that we conduct both for young girls and boys. 

In this regard, we must acknowledge and convey our gratitude to BNEW for its excellent initiative of providing women with this important skill during the recent LG elections. We need more organizations to do this. 

Again, an empowered woman does not necessarily have to take part in elections. She may run successful businesses and do well in her life. Being economically empowered is also equally important!  

Let’s go beyond elections! 

Comments

Post a Comment

So what do you think?

Popular posts from this blog

Alive and kicking

This feels like ages since I last posted anything here. That shows how inactive I have become on my blog. It is such a pain to let it go empty, day after day. And I am sure that all bloggers share the same sentiments.

I have attempted to blog about something for a long time now, only to find myself failing to do so. Maybe that is my laziness. But sometimes, there is nothing new or interesting to blog about. Topics are crucial. As far as my idea of blogging goes, a post cannot be a mere record of personal events - everyday affairs - although there can be blogs about such topics and interests. For example, the one I am writing now - has nothing about anything in particular,  besides citing some personal excuses.

Bhutan is going through yet another interesting era in that we have just had our third parliamentary elections and the new government is in place. I take this opportunity to welcome the new government and a new set of cabinet members, the speaker of the National Assembly and th…

Our throw-it-away culture

Like all grandparents, my late grandma would call food 'tsampa rimpoche' and any fuss made about it would invite everyone's sneer and scoldings. Food is always treated with respect and is never wasted. "If you waste food in any manner," she would admonish us. "One day food will discard you and you will go hungry." 
What remained from the previous meal would be turned either into porridge or sometimes leftover rice would be dried in the sun. The dried rice would then be fried into puffed rice and consumed with cups of suja. When there was so much food left, especially during big events, leftover rice or kharang would be mixed with a small amount of yeast and brewed into ara.  
The only thing that I can vividly recollect from my primary school days is how we would be hungry most of the time. Food we were served was hardly enough to tickle our throats. We would be sent home only once a week on Saturdays and that was our opportunity to replenish our popcorn s…

Utpal Academy - Bhutan's first All-girls High School

Welcome to Bhutan’s first all-girls school. Isn’t that wonderful news to all our parents? Certainly, as a parent of a one-year old daughter I am excited about the coming of a school exclusively dedicated to the needs of girls. Our girls need special treatment, which we can for sure entrust the responsibility to Utal Academy, Paro.
I really like the name – Utpal – in Buddhist world, Utpal is another name for lotus flower, which is believed to grow from mud and yet blossoms into a beautiful and majestic flower. It stands for purity and many deities are depicted holding flower Utpal, more prominently Jestusn Dolma, the Goddess Tara. Symbolically, it also stands for the transformation of our girls. What an apt name for the school!
The Principal’s message posted on the academy’s website promises providing our young women an “opportunity to participate fully in a wide range of extracurricular activities to develop skills and qualities that will lead to successful and fulfilling life.” That’s…