As the Second Local Government Election is due now, the Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW) has left no stone unturned in training women from the 20 dzongkhags to contest in the elections.
A program called Potential Leaders Workshop has helped women from all across the country in gaining the confidence to participate in the upcoming Second Local Government Election.
The program aims to inspire women to participate and be elected in politics at local government and national levels. BNEW educates women on the importance of women’s effective participation as voters and candidates.
The Potential leader’s workshop for the upcoming Local Government Election kicked off from Sarpang with 58 women participants and a similar workshop concluded on April 23 in Haa where about 145 women came forward.
As per the BNEW’s record, about 1,474 number of women actively participated in the workshop conducted in the 20 dzongkhags.
One of the participants, Tsheten Zangmo from Dogar Shaba under Paro said that such a workshop is critical for all women as many lack the confidence and only few educated women are aware of the importance of women’s participation in politics.
She said that women back in village are of the opinion that women cannot compete with men in terms of making important decisions and taking leadership position.
“Every woman has the potential in them. They need the means to identify their potential,” Tsheten Zangmo said.
Another participant from Tashicholing under Samtse, Dawa Zangmo, shared that Bhutanese women face several obstacles on their path to politics, and such workshops helps to educate the women to overcome the barriers and to take part in politics for the benefit of the society at large.
“I am motivated to contest in the upcoming Local Government Election,” Dawa Zangmo said.
Dendup Dema from Shongphu, Trashigang said that such a program conducted by BNEW is timely and has helped women to build their capacities and offer voter and sensitization on gender equality.
She further said that, as intended by the BNEW, the program has encouraged and educated women to value civic engagement and help them see themselves as empowered leaders in the politics and public policy.
Sonam Dema from Samar gewog under Haa said that it is very important for the women candidates to receive voters’ support and have trust in women’s experience to bring about wider social change.
She added that a few women who aspire to join politics are discouraged by the limited support they receive, and in general, women are unable to trust another woman’s potential which further dejects women candidates.
“Through such workshop, I learned to trust other women and support them,” Sonam Dema said.
In an effort towards motivating and mobilizing women to participate in elections, BNEW has conducted various workshops, such as workshops on gender and leadership, capacity building and leadership skills development, training regional media preparedness workshop on potential leaders’ workshop starting 2013.
About 3,236 women were mobilized and motivated to participate in Second Local Government Election since 2013 by BNEW.