Skip to main content

Towards Thimphu Declaration

Coinciding with the International Women's Day 2017 (March 8), Bhutan hosted a three-day National Conference on Women in Governance, Leadership and Politics with a Regional dimension at Terma Linca Resort in Thimphu. It was the second conference to be organized in Bhutan; the first one was conducted in April 2014. 

The conference was organized jointly by National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) and Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW) with funding support from DPID, International IDEA, and others. The conference was attended by delegates from Nepal, Myanmar, and Bhutan.

One of the most important outcomes of the conference was drafting of Thimphu Declaration, which aims to have at least 30% women candidates fielded by the political parties in the upcoming 2018 elections and increase the number of elected women leaders by 30% using fast track measures. It also envisions increasing women executives in the civil and public service by 25%. 

It is true that qualified and empowered women are more likely to participate in the elections. However, the sad reality is that most of these women are in the civil service, private sectors, and Civil Society Organizations. They cannot simply throw away what they have for an uncertain possibility. That’s why we will continue to have more men joining the politics and winning elections. That’s not good for our democracy if half of the Bhutanese people go underrepresented in our decision-making processes. 

So, how do we encourage more women to leave their comfortable careers and make them embrace politics? 

One of the best and temporary measures is by being a little more accommodating and flexible to women whereby they can avail leave to contest elections. They may only resign if they are elected in the political offices and not otherwise. This will be a big boost to our educated and capable women and is also one of the best ways to realize the visions and goals of Thimphu Declaration

Because we will have more chances of women being elected when we have more women standing and taking part in the elections. Otherwise, increasing women’s participation in the elections will remain a distant dream. I am optimistic that something would come out of the Declaration in the upcoming election. Especially, we need to wait and see if political parties respect the Declaration and field in more women candidates. 30% candidacy works out to 14 candidates out of 47 available. That's a good bargain, I think.    

Of course, we will also need to see if these women are interested and ready to contest elections. Whatever said and done, at the end, it is women themselves, who would need to take the final call. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When FIVE is more than FIVE HUNDRED

Bhutanese parents complain that our children are exposed to so much foreign content and that they might soon forget our own root. Some parents also feel that their children respond well and better to stories that have Bhutanese characters and places in them. That's why the need for more and better Bhutanese books in the market. And we have only a handful of people who are committed to making this happen although the financial return is almost none.  
Bhutan can boast of not many writers. Here writing or publishing aspect of writing is an expensive hobby. In the first place, it is difficult to convince people to publish their writings and many leave it before they are halfway. Publishing is a complicated process. But here it is even more complicated since our publishers are not publishers in the real sense of the term. They would only 'publish' (print) school textbooks and in that they are only being wise - averting risks to their businesses. 
Recently, the whole nation star…

We killed our Golden Goose

One of our most significant events this year is that of Bhutan’s exporting of eggs to India. A few years ago, we were importing them – in truckloads. This goes to show that we have the potential to grow and progress as a country, provided we put in a little more effort and work harder. Did you know, Bhutan today has 422,648 hens and produces 251,678 eggs a day? 
In July 2016, Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) banned the import of chilies from India reasoning that the laboratory tests conducted confirmed presence of pesticides. And right there was our opportunity to grow on our own. The news was like winning a lottery and it sure was a boon to many a Bhutanese chili growers, as they now had ready market san competition from cheap chilies from across the border.

Then came the ‘off season’. That is when the price of chilies unreasonably shot up as high as Nu. 300-400 per kg. It was unreasonable and daylight robbery, many people protested. And then people took to the …

Our Growing Opportunity

Last week, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest had ordered the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) to 'temporarily' suspend the import of beans and cauliflowers. Laboratory tests had confirmed that these vegetables contain pesticide beyond permitted 'limit'. 
This is heartening for many Bhutanese farmers. This is truly our opportunity to grow and feed Bhutanese with vegetables grown and nurtured on Bhutanese soil. It is an opportunity to go bigger into farming and turn farming into a financially lucrative venture for our rural farmers, who still continue to grow crops for self-consumption. 
Otherwise, it is difficult for our farmers to compete with literally cheap vegetables that are imported from across the border, where they are grown in much much bigger quantity. Our farmers do not stand a chance at all to compete in the market. Thus, they end up growing only what's enough for their own families - the rest go waste, most of the time. Sam…