Women in STEM Bhutan

….A group of determined women trying to bring change through STEM initiatives

Sonam Deki

The Women in STEM group (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is a voluntary collaboration of Bhutanese women working in STEM-related fields in the nation’s various government and non-governmental organizations. The main objective of STEM Group is to promote girls and women in STEM fields and empower women to contribute towards sustainable future through STEM education.


STEM Group was established last year-2021, but it was officially launched in April 2022 and was graced by Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo.

The main parent agency of Women in STEM Group is RSSTEM (Royal Society for STEM) which is an office under His Majesty’s secretariat. STEM Group has four activities: Girls STEM Camp, STEM Festival, Monthly STEM Quiz, and STEM Forum.


According to the coordinator Yeshi Choden who is engineer by profession, the expected outcomes of this initiative are improved research studies on female STEM participation in Bhutan, increased representation of women in STEM related careers, increased enrollment of girls in STEM subjects in tertiary education, and increased innovation by girls and women in STEM related areas.


“In the twenty-first century, technology and science are very important,” said coordinator, “but when we look around, we see very few women in this field. That is something we have experienced. In many other agencies, such as engineering, men outnumber women. Not only that, but studies have shown that in the science and technology fields, the representation of women and girls are significantly lower than that of men. We wanted to do something about it, which is why we came up with the idea of forming a volunteer group. Even if anyone wants to be a member, it is entirely based on voluntary.”

She went on to say “Because we are all working women, balancing initiatives and jobs can be difficult. Our member, on the other hand, is spread across the country. During any activity, not all 84 members participate because all activities are time-scheduled; whoever is available in that particular Dzongkhag, they will coordinate the program. This time, STEM festival will be organize from November 11 to 12 for the first time in Bhutan by women in STEM group with the goal of recognizing the critical role of STEM. All 84 members will not be present. Only 11 members will coordinate that festival”.

According to the coordinator Yeshi Choden, there will be many other activities coming up in the future.
Kencho Pema Wangden, an electrical engineer in Bhutan Power Cooperation, said “It is an honor for me to be a part of this initiative. Even if STEM Group can help one woman, it will benefit the whole society. Furthermore, I am much satisfied with this initiative because women are underrepresented in STEM fields in Bhutan “.


However, she also said that it is difficult to balance work and these initiatives, but if we can manage our time well, we can accomplish anything.

Likewise, Pema Deki who is an ICT officer at Ministry of Information and Communication stated “I believe it is a fantastic initiative because it encourages women, particularly girls, to pursue careers in STEM fields.”


“His Majesty always used to address on how important STEM is and people should gear up their interest in science and technology to the point where they can even compete with other countries,” she added. “Through this initiative, we aim to encourage more students to take up science because many student think science is tough and give up without even trying.”

They currently have 84 members in a group, but they are willing to accept as many women volunteers and members as possible. Women, on the other hand, should be related to STEM field. To encourage more women to become members, the membership is free as of now. They can simply register through online.


Even non-members expressed their genuine interest in Women in STEM Group and applauded the concept.
“When people think of engineering, they often imagine a man in overall and steel-toed boots,” said Chimi Lendral Choden, an IT engineer at Link Unify. “The general public perceives certain engineering fields as dirty work, which may discourage girls and women from pursuing these fields. However, I am confident that STEM initiatives provide a wonderful opportunity for young girls to change their minds about STEM careers such as medicine, engineering, architecture, and scientific research. It is critical to instill a STEM mindset in students, particularly girls, at an early stage in the educational system, and I hope that through these experiences, young girls can ensure gender parity. As our world becomes more digitalised, we require a greater number of female workers with expertise in technology and science.”

Tenzin Dema, a civil engineer, stated “STEM initiatives, in my opinion, are good and beneficial initiatives, particularly for women, because these will help to empower women, make their lives more independent, and boost their strength”.
Similarly, Yeshi Lhamo, a civil engineer stated “In the first instance, it is a good initiative for youths to showcase their talents additionally, it is an initiative started by a woman providing opportunities for young girls while promoting and empowering Bhutanese women. It is a rare opportunity so I would also love to participant in it”.

Similarly, Yeshi Lhamo, a civil engineer stated “In the first instance, it is a good initiative for youths to showcase their talents additionally, it is an initiative started by a woman providing opportunities for young girls while promoting and empowering Bhutanese women. It is a rare opportunity so I would also love to participant in it”.

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