LG: Tshering Choden, 33, of Chasilhakha, Bongo gewog in Chukha will contest for the post of gup. However, winning will not be her only goal.

The class-XII graduate, who is currently a successful dairy farm entrepreneur wants to bring women to the front. If that does not happen, Tshering Choden dreams to at least show that women can equally participate in the Local Government (LG) and even lead.

“Women empowerment is the reason I am participating,” Tshering Choden said. “Since there is no women participation, I want to lead and be an example.”

With many agencies supporting women participation in elections and other areas, Tshering Choden said contesting for the post would be her way of showing gratitude to them, while at the same time encouraging other women.

Apart from operating a dairy farm in Chasilhakha, the alumni of Ugyen Academy in Khuruthang, Punakha also does contract works. However, dairy farming is her main livelihood at the moment, which she started in 2009.

At present, Tshering Choden is also not sure what changes and developments she will work to bring forth if she is elected as the new Bongo gup in the upcoming LG elections.

“I cannot say anything at the moment,” she said, adding that it would not be right to make promises to people that cannot be kept later. “But there are many things to do in the gewog,” she said.

Women must be independent and not be dominated by men, Tshering Choden said, explaining she would voice and strengthen education for girls in her gewog. There must not be any illiterate girl child, she said.

Tshering Choden is the only woman to contest for the gup post this elections from her gewog. Her first obstacle will be making it past the primaries, where she will have to contest against the former gup, Tashi Dorji, who intends to re-contest for one last term.

If elected again, Tashi Dorji aims to improve road connectivity in the gewog.

“The former Bongo gup has done everything to develop our gewog,” Tshering Choden said. “But participation is important.”

Tshering Choden added that her only advice to women is that anything is possible but to achieve goals, women have to try first.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing