The project seeks to inspire and support the political aspirations of Bhutanese women
Just as the next parliamentary elections is around the corner, nationwide media advocacy campaign titled “La, Aum Lyonchhen” designed to encourage women to contest for elections in 2013 is all set to be launched.
Produced with financial assistance from the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD), the project by KCD Production is a continuation of the first of its kind initiative, “Inspiring Bhutanese Women to Lead”, which won the UNDP human development fellowship award 2010.
While the documentary premiere ‘Yes Madam Prime Minister’ (“La, Aum Lyonchen- Lessons from Denmark”) is a key element of the project, a ten episode radio drama series and five television programs including a music television (MTV) focused on challenging traditional gender roles and encourage the women of Bhutan to get involved in politics will also be televised and aired through Bhutan Broadcasting Services (BBS) and Kuzoo FM from September to December.
The documentary which also features the political journey of the Members of Parliament (MP) Karma Lhamo (National Assembly) and Sangay Zam (National Council), delves into the challenges faced by Bhutanese women today and draws lessons from Denmark – which is like Bhutan both a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy.
Denmark has seen noticeable progress ever since women were granted the right to vote in 1915 and especially in 2011, when the first female Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, was elected.
Presently, 40% of the Danish Parliament comprise women including nine ministers and Helle. Denmark was also recently voted as the world’s happiest country, while Bhutan continues to be popularly known for its development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH).
With the 2013 elections a few months away, the title, “La, Aum Lyonchen” was coined to involve interest and open up the possibility that Bhutan may be ready to think of women as leaders in the highest positions.
The project hopes to garner support from policy makers and society to support women candidates to come forward for the upcoming elections in 2013 and beyond.
Earlier, KCD production’s Kesang Chuki Dorjee said, the main objective behind the project is to get policy makers and public to realize that the vast potential of this population is still untapped. “Another is to show the value of having more women decision makers to improve the quality of life in Bhutan,” she added.
Her Royal Highness, Ashi Sonam Dechen Wangchuck will grace the media launch event as the chief guest this Saturday, August 31. Chief election commissioner, Dasho Kunzang Wangdi will be there to deliver the keynote address.
In Bhutan, less than 14% of women represent Parliament, and with the first ever local government elections held in June, 2011, less than 5% of the newly elected local leaders are women.
It was only recently this year that the country had its first women Drangpon (Justice) and a Dzongda (governor). The question that remains is – Is Bhutan ready for a woman Prime Minister?