With former teacher Sonam Pelzom registering with Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB), Mongar has the dzongkhag’s first woman candidate for National Council.

Sonam Pelzom, 31, is from Drangmaling, Tsamang.

“I have to strengthen visibility and voice of women. I do not feel any less than my male counterpart,” said Sonam Pelzom, who holds a BA Dzongkha and Geography degree from Sherubtse College. Following her graduation, she worked as a teacher at Druk School in Thimphu and as a voluntary English instructor at the National Institute for Zorig Chusum. She also taught English in Thailand.

Sonam Pelzom hopes to inspire women to participate in governance and leadership. “I hope to strengthen women’s voice. I also hope to build greater acceptance of women in leadership positions and work towards improving gender equality.”

Sonam Pelzom said she was inspired by her sister who is a chiwog tshogpa. “I am really inspired by the way she serves and proves her capability.” She added that limited women representation in politics is a concern, which could lead to one-sided decision-making.

If elected, Sonam Pelzom said she would focus on expanding rural economy and restoring cultural and traditional values of the country.

Until October 20, with 14 aspiring candidates, Mongar had the second highest NC aspirants. Sonam Pelzom said that this meant choice for the voters. “It also indicates that our democracy has evolved. I hope to win as I am getting positive response from the people.”

Phurpa Lhamo