At a seminar on women in politics in Bhutan the political parties of Bhutan shared their experiences on advancing women in politics – including both the difficulties, as well as the opportunities for improvements.
Former Danish MP Gitte Seeberg moderated the session and stressed that women tend to underestimate their own capacity in comparison with men. She also said that sometimes women in powerful positions do not create an enabling environment for other women to advance in.
Also participating in the seminar was Danish professor and expert on women in politics Drude Dahlerup. She, on the other hand, very clearly placed the responsibility for advancing female political representation on the political parties in her opening statement: “The political parties are the gatekeepers to elected positions … It is the responsibility of the political parties to be more inclusive in terms of gender, majority/minorities and youth.”
The political parties took up the challenge and a lively debate unfolded regarding a way forward for advancing women in politics in Bhutan, including a discussion of the various options presented by Drude Dahlerup:
- Positive action (UN Platform for Action, Beijing 1995)
- Temporary special measures (CEDAW Convention)
- Quotas by law or voluntary party quotas
At the final session of the seminar, the national plan for advancing women’s political participation was considered, and the political parties drew up action plans, including voter education, candidate training, political mentoring and review of party nomination processes. At this session DIPD Director Rasmus Helveg Petersen expressed continued commitment from DIPD to support the efforts in collaboration with the local partners.
The seminar formed part of the 2nd National Conference on Women in Governance, Leadership and Politics, organized by Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW) in partnership with the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD). Also represented at the conference was DIPD partners from Myanmar and Nepal, who participated, shared experiences from their national contexts and brought new ideas home with them.
Contact DIPD Senior Advisor, Hanne Lund Madsen: email@example.com