Lack of women representation in Parliament is the reason why Kencho Wangmo, 41, decided to contest in the upcoming National Council (NC) from Kilkhorthang gewog of Tsirang.

She is the lone female candidate who has declared her interest to contest in the upcoming NC election from the dzongkhag until now. She will be contesting against 11 male candidates.

Kencho Wangmo has a Master’s degree in Forest Ecology from the University of Queensland, Australia. She has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Samtse College of Education and a Bachelors degree in Science from Sherubtse College, Kanglung.

She served as a teacher at Damphu High School and in Zhemgang. She also worked as a senior lecturer of Plant Science at Sherubtse College and Royal Thimphu College before opening an Early Childhood Care and Development Centre (ECCD) in Damphu.

The mother of three said that despite encouragement from the King and the government, women are still skeptical about participating in elections. “This could be due to the patriarchal culture that still exists in our society.”

She said that with her 18 years of work experience, she hopes to inspire voters to change their mindset.

Kencho Wangmo said she expects her participation in NC would give her a firsthand learning opportunity of understanding women’s participation in elections and the voters’ take on gender while electing their representative. “Sharing these experiences would be valuable to other young women and men who wish to contest.”

She said contesting against 11 men would provide a choice for voters and help them understand that women are equally capable. “I intend to raise issues related to gender equality (for both men women) and put forward women’s stand while reviewing any legislation.”

She claims that she is compiling documents to file for nomination. She plans to begin her familiarisation tour from next month. “I am also listening to people when they share some of their grievances and issues and study how best it can be addressed.”

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang