HM Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck joins students of P/Ling to observe IWD

IWD: Observing the International Women’s Day (IWD) yesterday, Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck underlined the importance of parental roles and country’s HIV status to the student crowd Chumigthang Middle Secondary School and villagers of Sampheling gewog, Phuentsholing.

Her Majesty said that parents have greater responsibility to teach their sons to respect women.

“Fathers are role models sons look up to,” she said. “It is your duty to show and tell your sons that a woman deserves respect and love and should never be abused.”

Young boys must understand that if they are more powerful or stronger, they have the responsibility to protect those who are weaker and not abuse them, said Her Majesty.

IWD is observed globally to encourage greater women’s participation, contribution in all development spheres.

Her Majesty said that a total of 480 people have been detected with HIV positive in the country.

“Many more remain undetected in our communities, who may be unwittingly spreading the virus,” she said. “The epidemic continues to outpace national response and numbers continue to rise.”

Her Majesty urged health ministry and other relevant agencies to accelerate their responses to control the spread of HIV in the country.

Her Majesty said that Bhutanese women are fortunate and enjoy a greater degree of freedom and equality compared to women in many countries.

“Our Kings have always given the highest priority to women and children’s development, their health, and well-being,” said Her Majesty.

Her Majesty also highlighted violence against women. Despite collective measures to prevent, protect, and assist victims, violence against women is prevalent in the country.

“The number of cases of sexual and gender-based violence is increasing year after year and is a growing national concern,” said Her Majesty. “Unfortunately, children are often caught up in the midst of these situations. They are either witness to, or experiencing some kind of domestic or sexual violence each year.”

UN System’s resident coordinator, Chirstina Carlson, expressed her appreciation for the government’s efforts to promote gender equality in the country.

“Prime Minister was among those who pledged to STEP IT UP and committed to end discrimination against women by 2030 and announced concrete and measurable actions to kick-start rapid change in their countries,” she said.

Chirstina Carlson said that Prime Minister has pledged that the government will increase representation of women in governance and decision-making at all levels and strengthen targeted programmes for the economic empowerment of women.

“Spread the word among your friends and family that violence against women and girls at home or anywhere else should not be tolerated,” said Chirstina Carlson. “When mothers, sisters, aunts and other women are empowered to pursue a future of their choosing, this promotes a stronger and healthier society.”

Lyonpo Dorji Choden, who is also the chairman of the National Commission for Women and Children, highlighted issues related to domestic violence, rape cases, early marriages, and divorce. She said that all should work together to reduce and eradicate such problems.

Gender equality and full enjoyment of human rights remain elusive for millions of girls. Nearly 14 million children are forced into marriage every year — 37,000 girls being denied their fundamental human rights every single day.

Every day, 7.3 million babies in developing countries are born to mothers who are 17 or younger. One in three women are subject to gender-based violence, and 200 million women and girls alive today have undergone female genital mutilation.

Rajesh Rai,  Phuentsholing