… the lone female NC MP-elect talks about her journey

Ugyen Dorji | Zhemgang

Tshering Tshomo is like no other woman, say voters of Zhemgang. For many, she is determined, bold, and a dynamic person.

When she first set out to introduce herself to voters in Zhemgang, not many wanted to be her representative during the election, unlike the male candidates. She moved on nonetheless.

Early in the familiarisation trip across the dzongkhag, she attended a meeting at Berti, one of the remote villages in the dzongkhag. She went to it like any other meetings she held before. However, she came out of it charged with enthusiasm, and determined like never before.

The large crowd was mostly women, Tshering Tshomo recalls. As she went on speaking the faces brightened. It pumped her with energy and belief in the cause to uplift the welfare of women.

Many came to her after the meeting and told her that she convinced them that she deserved their support and would make it count. Some appreciated her confidence and others agreed with her agenda of empowering the communities.

“They never thought a woman could do such a thing and contest among men. They thought I was exceptional,” she said. “What they told me that day inspired me to work harder.”

Tshering Tshomo from Sonamthang village under Ngangla gewog went on to win the National Council seat from Zhemgang securing 3,170 votes including 1,568 postal ballots beating four other male candidates.

The 39-year-old said that she would serve the people: elders with respect, love for younger ones, and friendship with those of her age.

She said that Nation Council members have no authority on development activities or financial authority. “I have never promised anything as such.”

Zhemgang has huge potential for Tourism, and in collaboration with relevant agencies and shareholders, she promised to promote Eco-tourism.

A businesswoman from Panbang said that we are happy that they were able to elect a woman from their community for the second time. Those in the lower part of Kheng took consolation in the fact that at least someone from their area in the dzongkhag won the election.

Gyempo Lhamo said that female representatives are more vocal and equally talented as men. “If she was elected then other women have a model and reason to believe in the opportunities out there.”

While many voters were impressed with her communication skills, others found her pledges relevant and not far-fetched.

She pledged to visit the constituency once a year and solve the issues and problems of the public by consulting with local government and National Assembly members.

She would relay the discussions that happened in parliament and raise the concerns of the public.

Voters said that they found her a kind person and could share their problems with her like a friend. “It’s important to have a female representative in parliament when discussing laws on issues related to women, so the voters felt that I should be elected.”

Out of the 11,591 who came to vote, 5,850 were women.

She said that when she visited eight gewogs, she did not face any big challenges and she equally travelled along with the four male candidates and did the campaigns successfully.

She said that she did not consider herself weaker than men because of her gender.  “We should be determined and confident. If we think ourselves inferior to men, then we can never do anything worthwhile.”

Her only worry during the elections was her two children, teenagers going to school and living on their own in Thimphu. “They were stronger than me. Whenever I called, they said that I was away to serve a bigger and more important cause for the country. They understood.”