Bhutan witnesses gender imparity rise

Ranking 124th of the 144 countries, the global gender gap report (GGGR) 2017 shows that Bhutan saw an increase in gender imparity over the past few years.

This is a drop from the 121st position in 2016. In 2013, i Bhutan ranked 93th of 136 countries.

The report stated that the highest gender imparity was in the political empowerment field. “Its political empowerment scores remain the same,” the report said.

In political empowerment, Bhutan ranked 134 of 144.

It also stated that gender gap in Bhutan was widening across professional and technical workers, estimated earned income, healthy life expectancy, and basic literacy.

However, the report stated that the gap was partly balanced by a notable increase in parity for legislators, senior officials, and managers.

GGGR 2017 employed four dimensions to study the gender gap: political empowerment, education attainment, health and survival, and economical participation and opportunity.

Bhutan scored a 0.056, showing maximum imparity of representation in the political spectrum.

The executive director of Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW), Phuntshok Chhoden, said that because of political representation and ranking, the overall gender gap ranking was brought down.

“Women empowerment in politics is an important indicator to study gender gap. This shows if the society is ready to accept women in leadership positions,” she said.

She added that through efforts put in by National Commission for Women and Children, BNEW and the government, the situation could be improved. “Unless we put temporary measures in place ,such as fast-track measures, the chances of decreasing the gap will be less.”

Bhutan has two eminent members appointed by His Majesty in the Parliament and only four among 47 National Assembly members in the country.

According to BNEW records, the country has minimum women representation in leadership positions with just two dzongdags. There is no woman secretary in the civil service.

Bhutan scored 0.64 percent in economical participation and opportunity and 0.9 percent in education attainment and health and survival.

According to report, the country ranked 123 in terms of educational attainment.

In Bhutan, 66 percent of the population is literate, 60 percent female against 73 percent male.

Although enrolment in primary education is almost equal among male and female, enrolment in secondary and tertiary education decreases for women.

According to GGGR 2017, only about 60 percent of the female are enrolled for secondary education as compared to about 67 percent male.

About 60 percent of females in the country have never attended formal school or institute against 40 percent males.

Of seven countries surveyed from the South Asia region, Bhutan ranked second.

Bangladesh and the Maldives top the rank.

With an average remaining gender gap of 34 percent, South Asia is the second-lowest scoring region on this year’s Global Gender Gap Index.

Phurpa Lhamo

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