Gender Discrimination and National Commission for Women and Children

It cannot be traced back as to when gender discrimination spread its tentacles over the world but it has had on the world but it has had a tight grip on the world since the early ages. Gender discrimination can be traced back to the Greeks where women were not even allowed to be on the same stage because it was considered dangerous. During that era, Men played the roles of both male and female character. The Greeks believed that allowing women to perform publicly could be too dangerous and that having men portray them neutralized the danger.

Women were not allowed to vote or participate in many important culture because they considered to be weaker hence unequal to their men counterparts, during that period women were generally trapped in their houses and would only perform domestic chores and duties. In the late 19th century the movement toward gender equality, a concept that women should be given the same opportunities, same resources, political as well as economic participation and decision making regardless of their gender, started in the western part off the world and the movement was considered one of the earliest movement towards gender equality.

In Bhutanese society, Examples of gender discrimination can be, women considered to be the bread earner of the house, women not being allowed to enter certain rooms, and places because they were considered to be dirty and inferior to men. In 2015, a survey held by ministry of labor showed that there were 159919 women labor contributes and 184574 men, the same survey showed that the labor force participate rate was 7.1 for male workers and 55.9 for female workers. It was also found that the jobs held by women were mainly in low paying sector such as agriculture and forestry (almost 30.5 % of the female work force) and women were found to have inferior jobs to those of men the unemployment rate of women was found to be higher than men, the female unemployment rate was 4.5%, whereas the men held 1.8 and although 35.3 % of the total civil service were women, only 10% of that were holding executive and socialist position.

There may be many different evidence of decimation between male and female in the female society but there is no overt discrimination on the basis of gender. The sustainable development goal is to achieve gender equality and empower all girls and women and in line with this sustainable development goal, women are given equal rights and freedom as men. Women are allowed to vote and take part in political elections and take up office. Gender quality has come a long way in Bhutan and are moving into governance and politics. There was an increase of 7.7 percent in the percentage of women civil servants in the last decade.

There are now women doctors, engineers, pilots, officers, athletes and other professions. In 2013 Aim Dorji Choden became the first female minister in Bhutan after her party won the general election of 13 July 2013 and elected her the minister of work and human settlement. Until the reign of the third druk gyalpo jigme dorji wangchuck, Bhutan has remained closed off to the rest of the world and western educations had not yet reached Bhutan. In 1961, the modern education system was introduced as a part of developmental process. When it first began, there were only a few girls joining schools with the male female student ratio at 50:1. It was modern education that played a pivotal role in changing the status of women in the country. As of now, there are more girls that go to school than boys at 87,070 girls going to school and 85,899 boys.

In order to protect and promote the rights of women through gender responsive interventions, the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) was established in 2004. The work of the NCWC was to look at the existing policies and plans and see if those policies and plans had a gender neutral perspective and the NCWC would support those plans and policies which has a gender neutral perspective. Respect Educate Nurture Empower Women (RENEW) deals with the results of sexual based gender discrimination such as domestic abuse, sexual based gender discrimination such as domestic abuse, divorce cases and child education from the district lord and helps sexually based discrimination survivors to recover and guides them to a better life.

RENEW also become a councilor to women who could not share their problems to their family and would help to guide women by providing them with jobs and helping them financially. In terms of gender equality in school, Bhutan has achieved the millennium development goals target with progress in tertiary enrolment but there was a gender gap in education and its outcome. A survey found out that, in schools there were 6.5 percent boys to 5.8 percent girls but 3.9 percent boys to 2.2 percent girls, from these statistics, we can see that the number of girls in high schools and colleges are comparatively fewer than boys. This is happening because, girls tend to drop out of school in between or before reaching high school due to problems such as pregnancy and other health related or stereotypical reasons.

Gender equality in Bhutan has come a long way from the traditional times but there are still traces of it left. Gender equality is a popular idea among everyone and in today’s world, girls are given the resources and opportunities that they deserve irrespective of their gender. Although in some areas, traces of Gender discrimination can be found, such as at villages and remote areas where women are called Am- tsu- Mo- Rem (helpless women) and men are called Kep phoja (superior male) phrases which show the superiority of men over women and how its compared to men, women are helpless.

In other field, gender discrimination has reduced drastically, the employment rate for women took on a steady increase and many women now hold vital and superior posts such as ministers, gups, dzongda etc. We also saw an increase in the enrollment rate of girls to school and a noticeable amount of women are now entering the sports field and are taking parts in games that were otherwise thought to be dangerous and risky for women such as archery, football, shooting etc. Although, Gender equality is slowly making its way into Bhutan, will be a long time before we can say that Bhutan is a gender neutral country.