The numbers say it all

Chencho Dema


Political parties find it difficult to field female candidates despite trying to be gender inclusive for representation, if not to appeal to voters. However, this is an uphill task with women not keen on participating in the electoral process.

In the last  four elections, political parties fielded 37 candidates (from 2008 to 2024).  The Druk Phuensum  Tshogpa  fielded 14 female candidates, seven of whom were elected in NA since 2008 till 2024. Peoples Democratic Party fielded 14 female candidates, four of whom were elected, including the first female minister from 2008 to 2024.

In addition to having an elected woman minister, DNT had six female candidates, six of whom were elected.

In the recent elections, Bhutan Tendrel Party fielded three female candidates, but only one got elected.

With only two women in the National Assembly, many are wondering or questioning the poor women representation. A political analyst said that only women can resolve problems and issues related to women  and that until they participate in politics, the problem will persist.

PDP and DPT fielded 10 female candidates in 2008. PDP had six and DPT four while all the four female candidates of DPT were elected.

Leela Pradhan of Ugentse-Yoeseltse, Choeki Wangmo of Thrimshing, Norbu Wangzom of Jomotshangkha-Martshala and Karma Lhamo of Mongar were the first women elected in the first parliamentary elections in 2008.

Karma Choden of Drukjeygang Tseza, Nim Dem of Bji-Katsho-Uesu, Namgay Om of Dramitse-Ngatshang, Tshering Chhoden of Khar-Yurung, Tshering Dolkar of Gelephu and Dorji Choden of Thrimshing were the first women candidates of PDP.

Four Political Parties qualified for the 2013 election.  Druk Chirwang Tshogpa fielded the most women candidates with 14 candidates. However, the party could not qualify for the general round as it could only secure 5.9 percent of total votes. DNT came third securing 17.04 % of total votes.

PDP and DPT qualified for the general round with both the parties having five women candidates, but only four were elected  –  three from PDP and one from DPT.

Dorji Choden from Thrimshing-Kangpara in Trashigang of the PDP became the first female minister. Kinley Om from Bji_Kar–Tshog_Uesu and Kezang Wangmo of Dokar-Sharpa were the PDP women candidates elected. Dechen Zangmo from Nanong-Shumar constituency in Pema Gatshel was the lone DPT candidate to be elected.

The 2018 NA election had 18 women candidates with four political parties. After  Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party and PDP lost the primary round, 11 women, five each from DNT and DPT, were among the 94 candidates who contested for a seat in the NA.

The 2018 election was a big win for women with seven women being elected out 11 fielded by the two parties.

The President of BKP, Neten Zangmo, the lone woman party president who led her party to the primary could not qualify for the general election.

Twenty-six women contested from five political parties in the primary round on November 30 with 20 exiting the political arena along with their parties.

DNT and DPT with seven candidates had the maximum number of female candidates among the parties. Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa had six female candidates.

PDP fielded three candidates Dorji Choden, Lekden Zangmo from Khar-Yurung and Dimple Thapa from Ugyentse Yoeseltse.

The Bhutan Tendrel Party candidates were Dorji Wangmo from Kengkhar-Weringla, Ugyen Dem from Khatoed-Laya and Tshering Lhadon from Chumig-Ura.