LG: Unlike the first local government (LG) elections, at least two of the 15 gewogs in Wangdue have a female candidate each contesting for the post of gup.

Sonam, 30, of Hebisa chiwog in Nahi gewog has been nominated as the lone candidate during the recent chiwog zomdu. The zomdu saw 24 people, one from each of the 24 households in the chiwog, and all voted in her favour.

The single mother of two has served as a gewog clerk for five years from 2006 to 2011 and later worked as a non-formal education instructor. She studied till class 10, and is a former student of Bajo higher secondary school.

Sonam said she initially thought of contesting for the post of tshogpa but after attending training on women empowerment in Punakha earlier this year, she decided to contest for the post of gup. “During the training we were not just inspired to take up leadership roles in the community but also taught about the importance of female leadership and women empowerment,” Sonam said.

“Through my experience working in the local government office, I could say that like any office, the local government also needs more female leaders,” she said. Women in her opinion would be faster in providing services to local people and in understanding even minor issues.

Sonam will be contesting against Kinley Tenzin of Nabisa chiwog. Kinley Tenzin defeated former Nahi gup, Karpo Dorji, during the chiwog zomdu. The gewog has only two candidates for the post of gup. Three of the five chiwogs do not have gup candidates.

Chador Lham was the other female candidate from Changkha-Pasakha chiwog in Gasey Tshogoam gewog. She was nominated after getting 87 votes from around 120 people present at the chiwog zomdu meeting.

Chador has worked with the local government as a geydrung for 14 years from September 2002 till August 2016. She has also worked as a primary school teacher at the then Gaselo primary school from 1998 to 1999.

Chador said despite working with the local government for these many years, she could not be of much help to locals. “I fully understand local issues and problems faced by people, but since I worked as a geydrung I couldn’t be of any help,” she said.

The mother of three children said: “Local government is always a male dominated place, which somehow contradicts our rural society where female experience major social problems that mostly remain buried, as they fail to share them with male leaders.”

Chador Lham will be contesting against two male candidates Kinley Gyeltshen and Dophu from Khameyna and Trapsthikha-maseykha chiwogs on September 27.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue