Dasho Dawa Dem passed away on February 15 at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), surrounded by her loved ones. She was 74.

Her cremation was held on February 26 in Thimphu.

Born on May 16, 1944 in Takchu Goenpa in Iesu, Haa, Dasho Dawa Dem was one of the first Bhutanese to attend modern school in Haa from 1956 to 1963. Thereafter, she pursued her education in several schools in India under the Royal Government Scholarship. She also pursued a diploma course in English language and protocol in Australia.

Dasho Dawa Dem was the first prominent female bureaucrat who contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of the country. Her outstanding service to the country for the past 44 years has served as an inspiration for all Bhutanese women.

She began her career at His Majesty’s Secretariat in 1965. His Majesty the third Druk Gyalpo bestowed her with the honorific title of Dasho in 1967 on her appointment as the first female Rabjam in Thimphu.

Dasho Dawa Dem went on to serve in various capacities in the civil service including Chief of Protocol and Royal Advisory Councilor. She was instrumental in establishing National Women Association of Bhutan (NWAB) in 1981. She served as NWAB’s head and worked towards improving the socio-economic status of women in Bhutan. Even after her retirement from NWAB in 2009, she continued to work actively towards women’s welfare, particularly in rural Bhutan.

She will be cherished and remembered by Bhutanese for her selfless dedication and service to the country.

 Contributed by 

Privy Council of Bhutan