Among 20 candidates seeking to contest the upcoming National Council (NC) elections from Dagana, the only female candidate, Chador Wangmo, hopes to become the first democratically elected female national councilor from the dzongkhag.
The mother of one said she decided to contest in the NC elections as no other woman was coming forward from her dzongkhag.
Dagana has the highest number of candidates seeking to contest the NC elections. But according to Chador Wangmo, she feels sad seeing the dearth of female candidates.
“There are many capable and more qualified female candidates than me. I do not understand why they are not coming forward,” she said.
Chador Wangmo said women have played a crucial role in the elections so far since the majority of voters have been women while more than half the population of Bhutan comprises women.
“I understand juggling family responsibilities, a job outside home and a campaign seems completely overwhelming for many women but there are steps we can take to make a difference.”
Chador Wangmo, 31, is from Khagochen village under Kana gewog, Dagana. She feels with her decision to contest the NC elections, she can inspire more women participation in future elections.
“While I do not have much knowledge about how the National Council functions, I believe I could bring about positive changes and serve the people and nation; help safeguard our sovereignty, and uphold the Constitution,” she said.
Chador Wangmo holds a Bachelors of Business Art honors from North Eastern Hill University, Shillong, India. She worked as a reporter for a private newspaper formerly. Before seeking to contest for NC, she worked in the hospitality industry as a manager and also as the marketing head for an event management agency in Thimphu.
Chador Wangmo had always been keen to participate in the NC elections. Although she was asked to contest in the second council elections, she refused due to lack of experience.
“I was not ready and I was in fear that I would not be able to meet people’s expectations but this time I am confident and I am not going to let this golden opportunity slip,” she said.
Chador Wangmo’s family, especially her husband supported her decision. “It would not have been possible to prepare for the elections on my own,” she said. If elected, Chador Wangmo wants to support and bring forward issues that matter to women. She said she will have better understanding of laws, policies and issues related to women. She also adds that she understands ground realities and issues that people in her dzongkhag face.
She is optimistic about her chances of winning in the elections and said the response she received from the people in her gewog has been positive.
“It will be history if I am elected as we already have a female Gup and Dzongda in Dagana dzongkhag,” she said.
Pema Seldon from Thimphu