Lone woman local leader to contest again

LG: Bumthang’s only woman local leader, Tang gewog’s Mangmi Dechen Zangmo, will contest again for the same post in the up coming local government elections.

This means that there will be at least be one woman contestant in the second local government elections in Tang gewog.

“I had actually decided not to contest again, but Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW) urged me to do so,” she said. BNEW had asked her to contest for the position of gup. Dechen Zangmo, said she needs some experience to contest for gup’s post.

“Winning or losing the elections is not an issue. But how well I will be able to serve the people is the concern,” she said.

A mother of two, Dechen Zangmo said she might not have been able to render satisfactory service to the people in her first term but she will try her best this time.

“As I come from a farming background, I was always occupied with house chores,” Dechen said. She was not able to give enough time to her child. “I try to encourage many women in my gewog to take part in the upcoming elections but no one seems to be interested.”

Dechen Zangmo said some organisations like BNEW are encouraging women to come forward but women don’t support women candidates. This, she said, is discouraging women from taking part in the elections. And women are mostly occupied with household chores.

“People must understand that women do not come forward to contest in elections not because they are not capable or confident, but because of prevailing mindsets in our society,” said Dechen.

In 2011, when Dechen first stood for Mangmi elections, her relatives did not approve of her decision. They feared that she might lose the elections and bring shame to the family. Dechen did not give up and she did not bring shame to her family.

“I was bit worried when I got elected, but I could take up the challenges,” Dechen said, who was the only woman contesting for the post of mangmi against four male candidates in 2011.

“I expect more women to contest in the second LG election,” she said.

Dzongkhag election officials are still in the process of collecting the list of candidates interested to contest in the upcoming elections.

Nima Wangdi | Bumthang

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