Almost all the new political parties have now turned their attention to the fairer sex in an attempt to coax them to participate in politics for the 2013 elections.
Results so far have not been pleasing and most of the women are not overly zealous to become a figure of authority as they are currently more-than-comfortable to burn the home fire, raise children and just be the good wife for their husbands.
Contentment in the age-old stereotypical cocoons in short.
The new political parties have multiple reasons to recruit more women for the upcoming elections as they believe that women are a powerful agent to bring about change in the society.
Interim General Secretary of Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) Meghraj Tamang said according to International researches and studies, women in politics improve the social wellbeing in the country with remarkable positive changes for weaker sections of society and poverty alleviation.
He said women play multiple roles for the welfare of a family as well as in a society.
“Women are the unrevealed and valuable human resource untapped in Bhutanese politics,” he added. DCT is still on the lookout for more women participation in the party.
As of now DCT has 16 women candidates and more than hundred women members. The President of the Party is the current Bhutan Media Foundation (BMF) Executive Director Lily Wangchhuk.
“We are hopeful of more participation of women and youth in our party, as it is very important for us to address their voices, which is often unheard,” he added.
Interim Party President Sonam Tobgay of Bhutan Kuen-Ngyam Party (BKP) said that there is no distinction between women and men in the party as long as one has the qualities of sincerely wanting to serve the nation.
BKP encourages people with a good heart, competence and commitment to join politics irrespective of the gender. “But will be happy to see more women engaging,” said Sonam Tobgay. Till date BKP has four women candidates.
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) has seven women candidates and they hope for more women candidates to join them.
Party spokes person Dr. Tandin Dorji said “the party encourages more women to participate because they believe that more than 50% of the voters are women”.
He said that women should have equal representation at the national level.
Even the Druk Me-ser Tshogpa (DMT) aims to empower women as their top priority.
The new aspiring political parties said the media advocacy of ‘La Aum Lyonchhen’ is an encouraging documentary which will encourage women to participate in politics.
The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Dasho Kunzang Wangdi, at the launch of La Aum Lyonchhen, early September said women are generally more committed to overall well-being than men and women devote more care and dedication to all causes. He added that if more women take up leadership roles, the progress of nation building would be much easier.
The CEC said Bhutanese women should stop highlighting stereo-typical arguments on what has been in the past rather embody and demonstrate the present potential and be forward looking, deriving moral strength from the values enshrined in our constitution and legal power from the laws made.
The La Aum Lyonchhen program aims to encourage and create more conducive environment for women candidates who plan to contest for the upcoming elections.
While most of the political parties face the same challenges to recruit women candidates as some are not so open while some have their own household responsibilities.
“Most of them are very shy as they find it as a risky venture or Profession. However some are really forthcoming and they have keen interest,” said the Interim General Secretary of DCT. He said the documentary might have raised some awareness among females.
In addition to that he said that right from the beginning DCT always believed in the importance of more women participation and youth as they make valuable contributions. Thus, the messages in the advocacy and our own objectives were similar.
DCT encourages more women and youth participate as they believe that they can bring different set of values, experiences and expertise to politics, thereby enriching the political environment and contributing to the quality of decisions and policies in our party.
Most women are unwilling and believe it is unsuitable for them. For others there are challenges with family responsibility.
However, the ones who have joined DCT have shown a lot of enthusiasm and interest and are making valuable contributions with their ability to address issues in a wholesome manner.
“Currently, we are faced with number of social issues which can be addressed if voices of women and youth are taken into consideration. If there are women and youth out there listening, we would like to encourage them to please come forward and share with us your concerns and challenges as your voices are often unheard,” said the Interim General Secretary of DCT.
Today, the Bhutanese parliament has only 10 women members against 62 men. While in local government there are about 100 women representatives out of more than 1000 male.
However the DCT interim general Secretary said having a woman Party president Lily Wangchhuk, it should inspire many Bhutanese women to join politics.
“The shift of power from top down system (Command, control and compliance) to the people friendly (participatory development) type of governance is the prime confidence and objective of DCT by having a woman as our party president,” he said.