English | Dzongkha Tuesday, August 4, 2020

BWPC- towards gender equality in elected offices

Komal Kharka
Aug 15, 2019

Despite advances in women’s level of education, women have made little significant progress in representation in national politics. Bhutan still suffers from poor women representation in decision making. Presently Bhutan has only close to 15% of women representative in the parliament. In order to improve this scenario and to enhance more women representation in the parliament, the Bhutan Women Parliamentary Caucus (BWPC) was launched in the capital yesterday.

The BWPC will provide a platform for aspiring female political candidates. It brings all the members together on a regular basis to raise awareness and advocate in a comprehensive and inclusive environment. It will also facilitate and ensure regular dialogues among women leaders and different stakeholders to contribute towards strengthening the gender perspectives in the formulation, review and reporting on legislation, policies, plans, programmes, and budgets. The primary objective of the BWPC is to ensure the goal of gender equality in elected offices and leadership by facilitating and organizing support for women to succeed.

“More we work on enabling environment, more we build acceptance of women leadership in the society. I think then more women will feel confident to come out knowing that society will be more accepting. They will be better prepared to participate and when they are better prepared they will be able to better represent and their voices are strong,” said Phuntshok Chhoden, the Executive Director of Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW).

On the other hand, there was some improvement in the last election. Seven of the ten women candidates who contested won the seats in the National Assembly. In total there are eleven women representatives in both the houses in the parliament this time, which is the highest ever. However, women leadership in the country is still 15 per cent in parliament and 12 per cent in the local government compared to their male counterparts.

The Caucus is initiated to contribute towards achieving the National Key Result Area 10, of the 12th five-year plan to “promote gender equality and empowering women and girls” and Sustainable Development Goal’s “Gender equality and empower all women and girls”.

The BWPC is a joint initiative of the BNEW and National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC).

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