Of the 232 candidates contesting in the second local government elections in Dagana’s 14 gewogs, 28 are women according to records with the district election office.
The candidates will be contesting for the office of Gup, Mangmi, Tshogpa and Thromde Thumi Ngotshap in local government, the elections for which is scheduled for September 27.
From the 43 candidates for gup, three are women candidates from Khebisa, Gesarling and Tashiding. Of 44 mangmi candidates, only one is a woman contesting from Khebisa gewog. The highest number of contestants, 145, is for Tshogpa of which 24 are women.
Although women participation in the upcoming local government elections from Dagana dzongkhag is around 12 percent only, it is considered to be a significant improvement from the past.
“Even after encouraging women to come forward most are not ready and lack confidence since it has not been the trend for women to contest in the past,” said Jaku, 56, a Gup contestant from Tseza Gewog.
Sangay Wangmo, a Tshogpa candidate, from Gozhi Gewog said, “People are undermining me just because I’m a woman but I think women are better in taking decisions and dealing with the people”.
She said nobody insisted she participate in the LG election but that Bhutanese women she saw on television and heard on radio inspired her.
Karna Maya Gurung, 46, from Goshi gewog, said she felt proud that more women are coming forward to take on greater responsibilities in local government and this was breaking the stereotype. “I encouraged my daughter to participate but she seemed not interested as she has to look after her 18-month baby boy,” she said.
Goshi gewog’s former Mangmi, Ganesh Gurung, 48, said that even during various meetings women participating is low.