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OPINION-Call to Empower Women in Political Leadership, Imperative to Break Gender Barriers in Politics

In reflecting on the current state of gender representation in Bhutanโ€™s political landscape, the recent Fourth National Assembly elections have surfaced disquieting concerns. With only two women securing seats in the National Assembly, the nation faces a critical juncture in addressing the glaring underrepresentation of women in the highest echelons of decision-making.

The decline in female political representation isnโ€™t just a numerical setback; it resonates as a poignant regression from the progress witnessed in previous political cycles. The voices captured in the discourse, ranging from recent graduates to political leaders, unveil a complex tapestry of challenges contributing to this decline.

Societal perceptions emerge as a formidable barrier, perpetuating the notion that women are somehow less capable or less inclined towards leadership roles. These deeply entrenched biases discourage women from actively participating in politics, creating a pervasive environment where they are often sidelined from political discourse.

The complexity of this issue becomes apparent when considering the ingrained gender biases that manifest from an early age. Boys are encouraged to explore, while girls are often dissuaded from venturing beyond predefined roles. This early conditioning sets the stage for a skewed perception of leadership capabilities, impacting womenโ€™s willingness to engage in political life.

Addressing this multifaceted challenge demands a comprehensive approach. Breaking down traditional gender barriers necessitates challenging societal norms dictating predefined roles for men and women. Initiatives promoting equal opportunities from educational institutions to workplaces are imperative in reshaping ingrained perceptions and fostering an environment of inclusivity.

The proposition for a womenโ€™s quota in political roles introduces an intriguing mechanism to expedite change. While a quota system may be a temporary measure, it holds the potential to accelerate progress by ensuring a minimum percentage of seats are reserved for women. This creates a platform for them to actively participate in decision-making processes and, in turn, challenges the existing status quo.

Education emerges as a central tenet in this transformative journey. Both potential female candidates and the broader electorate need education on the significance of womenโ€™s representation. Awareness campaigns, workshops, and educational programs are essential components in debunking the notion that politics is exclusively a male domain.

Communicating the unique perspectives women bring to decision-making processes is crucial for fostering a balanced and representative political landscape.

The experiences and commitments of successful female candidates provide a ray of hope. Those who secure positions in the political sphere express dedication to representing all women and inspiring others to participate. Their commitment to advocating for policies that prioritize womenโ€™s rights and empowerment reflects a deeper understanding of the transformative impact women can have in shaping the political narrative.

These success stories serve as powerful narratives capable of inspiring aspiring female leaders. The commitment to being advocates for gender equality within the political sphere is pivotal for creating an environment where women not only participate but actively contribute to policy discussions and decision-making processes.

The crucial role of awareness and inspiration in increasing the number of female candidates in future elections cannot be overstated. Aspiring female leaders require tangible examples, individuals who have successfully navigated the challenges of politics. Highlighting the accomplishments and resilience of women in leadership positions serves as a powerful catalyst for change, motivating other women to aspire to political roles.

Mentorship programs emerge as a strategic initiative in nurturing future female leaders. Establishing connections between experienced female politicians and aspiring candidates can provide valuable insights, guidance, and support. These mentorship relationships act as bridges, aiding women in navigating the complexities of political engagement and fostering a supportive community.

The decline in female representation in political spheres is not just a Bhutanese concern; it resonates as a global challenge. The opinions and experiences shared in this discourse mirror the struggles faced by women in various parts of the world. However, the commitment and determination of successful female candidates, coupled with strategic initiatives such as quotas, education, and mentorship, offer a roadmap for fostering a more inclusive and equitable political landscape. The upcoming political terms present a critical opportunity to actively address the underrepresentation of women, ultimately shaping a democracy that mirrors the diversity and perspectives of the entire population.


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