No 20% women’s quota due to NCWC’s rejection

The government’s pledge to provide a 20 percent quota for women in politics in Parlaiment , given their dismal representation at the moment, is not viable according to key stakeholders, the country’s only woman minister Dorji Choden said  at the monthly meet the press.
“The women quota is an important pledge, an important desire of development that men and women participate in the process of development and more so in political life with transition to democracy,” said Lyonpo Dorji Choden adding that the 20% quota pledge was found reasonable in the context of accelerating and encouraging more women in politics.
The minister said that today there are an equal number of girls to boys going to schools in both rural and urban areas, tertiary educations and to job markets and a good number of women are in business and in politics. “It is of course a very new development but it’s the desire of the government that we must encourage women participation in politics, that’s why we made this pledge,” she said.
With regard to implementing the pledge Dorji Choden said that the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) had several rounds of consultative meetings with key stakeholders to discuss on way forward. “And the findings from these stakeholders is that the quota is like giving a free seat which was not found acceptable,” she said.
The minister said that the findings from the consultative meetings instead suggested focusing on more programs to provide education to women, leadership education and economic empowerment that attribute to practically building capacities so that in due course of time the women can participate not only in politics but also in development skills.
NCWC has a number of programs mostly in partnership with NGOs to create, build leadership, counsel, mentor and create a favorable environment for women to augment their participation the minister said.
“We didn’t reach to where the legislation is to be drawn because of the findings during the consultative meeting that we should go for capacity building,” said Lyonpo Dorji Choden. “Our woman has taken a very good and proud stand.”
She said that the quota understood by public is like taking a free seat which Bhutanese women feel is not good enough and they will have to compete as much as men and with their own capacity.
The Prime Minister said that a decade ago only 16 percent of the civil servants were women. Today more than 9,500 of 26,984 civil servants were women, which is a good transition.  He, however, said this is not enough and more needs to be done. He also said the government has been pushing the RCSC to have more women in the executive level positions as of 143 only 12 were women. The PM said the government is trying and so far has appointed the country’s first women Dzongda and also two women ambassadors.
The PM said that based on NCWC’s rejection of women quota the government has not implemented the pledge.

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