Due to the importance placed on the welfare of women and children in the country, all the four political parties pledge and commit to provide better health services to women and children.
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT)
DNT takes note of the fact that more women have entered the workforce, juggling the responsibilities of childcare at home and managing the work places, and it has become a challenge and in the process, many women consider giving up their professional career.
“Even otherwise, their career progression and productivity are compromised, owing to the numerous roles women have to play. Lack of incentives and facilities has deterred Bhutanese parents from having more children,” DNT stated.
In addition, DNT said that the recent National Population and Housing Census shows that total childbirth reduced by almost 1,300 in the last 13 years, and it also showed that women, especially in urban areas, delay childbirth for this reason.
In line to this, DNT said that if the issue is not addressed on time, it would weigh on the Bhutanese population, which could have implication on the nation’s security and sovereignty.
Thereby, DNT said it will review and adopt a policy to employ foreign domestic workers, so that mothers have a helping hand to raise their children amid the right environment, initiate six months maternity leave in all corporations and private firms, introduce allowances that match the daily wage rate for women in rural areas during initial months of childbirth, and provide free sanitary pads to all the girl-students in the schools.
DNT said, “Today we are confronted with challenges of a changing socio-ecological situation. As signatory to CRC and CEDAW, we will scale up women and children’s protection services and establish efficient institutional referral linkages to create a safe and secure environment for them to thrive. Thereby, we pledge to protect women and children from violence and abuse.”
They also pledge to provide safe shelters and counseling services to victims of violence and abandonment in close collaboration with the national partners including CSOs, and develop and implement comprehensive women’s health programs.
“Recognizing the physical, social and emotional well being of women as an essential aspect of human development, we will provide comprehensive package of health services including pap smear, breast cancer screening and counseling in all our health facilities,” DNT said.
They also commit to proactively promote women in leadership, institute mother and baby friendly services in all the hospitals, they commit to enabling our women entrepreneurs to own and operate businesses and build competency of the ECCDs teachers to provide quality, child-friendly services.
People Democratic Party (PDP)
Meanwhile, PDP said that, “Women and children will always remain at the center of our policy,” adding that, although Bhutan has made positive strides in improving equality for women, they acknowledge that more needs to be done.
PDP also said that the empowerment of women must happen on all fronts; equal rights, greater economic opportunities, access to quality healthcare and education, and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.
In addition, PDP pledges to focus on best quality care and education for the wholesome development of the children. PDP believes it is essential for every child to have access to education, health and nutrition and safe home and caring family.
“We must nourish and nurture our children with love and care, particularly those from economically disadvantaged families, to enable them to face the future with confidence and optimism,” PDP added.
They pledge to establish a Mother and Child Hospital dedicated to the healthcare needs of mothers and children, establish crèche services in all government ministries and autonomous agencies to allow working mothers to spend more time with their child. They would also encourage establishment of crèche services in all corporate and private sector companies and enterprises.
They also pledge to establish an Early Childcare and Development (ECCD) Center in every chiwog, promote and facilitate babysitting and care-giving services through trainings and incentives to relieve working mothers of their domestic responsibilities.
PDP also pledges to institute special support schemes for single mothers in need, so as to enable them to live with dignity, and increase paternity leave to one month to ensure fathers have more time to support their family during childbirth.
“We shall invest in vocational skills training for unemployed women and initiate cooperatives for women. We shall support women in the informal sector through training and financial assistance and continue the Non-Formal Education (NFE) program for rural women to enhance literacy and lifelong learning,” PDP added.
PDP aims to introduce social security schemes for vulnerable women including women working in Drayangs, and shall continue interventions on sex education and awareness on teenage pregnancy and risks of HIV/AIDS and STIs among young girls.
“We shall study the issue of civil registration of fatherless children and come up with appropriate recommendations and strategies to address the issue,” states the PDP pledge.
Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT)
Knowing the importance of women and children issue in the country, DPT also pledge to establish additional day care centers and crèches for working women, especially single mothers and make rehabilitation centers into educational centers.
DPT in addition also pledge to establish recreation centers such as, games, reading, audio-visual for senior citizens and institute parenting education and awareness on drugs, alcohol and social problems.
Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP)
Like other three parties, BKP also pledge to support women and child welfare and development and accord high priority at all levels through health care, nutrition, education and policies.
The BKP’s focus is on more general pledges in health and education.