Tshering, 32.

Bhutan’s first and only woman Deputy Chairperson of a Dzongkhag Tshogdu

Tshering, 32, of Lungnyi gewog, Paro, is the country’s first woman to serve as deputy chairperson of the Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT), the highest decision making body at the district level.

Tshering served as Mangmi for five years when she was elected in the first round of the local government election in 2011. She had completed class X and was staying home to look after her sick father.

Tshering said that she was encouraged by her father and brother to take part in the election as well as by the people in her village. “No one in the gewog criticized me for being a woman nor was I differentiated from male competitors, instead they were supportive of woman candidates,” she said. “People believed in me because they felt that I know better about the rural situation as I stayed in the village for quite long and with their support I won the first election as   Mangmi.”

Tshering was the first woman to take part in LG election from her gewog and is a role model in the gewog. Five women came forward to contest the second LG election held last year.

In the second LG election Tshering was elected again to local office as a mangmi again and has been serving as deputy DT chairperson for the past year. “I never thought I will hold this position and I never thought of competing for this post. I stood for the election and I secured 18 votes out of 20,” she said. “My roles and responsibility as a Dy. Chairperson is to write minutes of the Gewog Tshogde (GT) or gewog council and submit the minutes to the DT to be finalized.”

She also said that until now her Chairperson has been chairing the DT and if she has to chair the DT she would feel a bit insecure as she would be doing for the first time.

She said that there are no different roles and responsibilities for men and women and if supported by family and community, anyone can do anything. “If not supported no women will come forward even when they want to and this is where we are lacking. It’s not a problem with an individual but this is a problem in society, which needs to be changed,” she said.

She said that she is fortunate to have a supportive community, family and a husband. “Not all the community will support woman leadership in the country because they undermine what woman can do for the community but I must say that I am doing what a man is doing and people trust me like they trust man,” she added. “If given equal opportunity, equal voice and support from the society, there is nothing a woman can’t do.”

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