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Study says stereotypes constricts women´s public life

Participation in public life difficult

Share on Facebook October 15, 2012, Reporter : Bhutan Observer, Reader : 641



A study on women’s participation in 2011 local government elections says the Bhutanese in general still hold stereotypical views about women making their participation in public life difficult, says Bhutan Observer.

There are subtle cultural elements that still favour male candidates as leaders. Will the country see a better women participation in politics in the upcoming parliamentary elections in the summer of 2013?

Of the 2,194 candidates who contested for various posts in the local governments last year, only 76 were women.

In a society where gender stereotypes and attitudes run deep, women are portrayed as being less capable than men, the study says. A large number of women seem to believe so. That, says the study, leads to women often having lower self-esteem.

Low self-esteem comes from a pervasive belief in the society, says the study, which makes women feel that leadership and politics are purely masculine territories.

The study says that although more men hold stereotypical views about women, women also share some misplaced views about themselves. And if such a perception persists in the society, it will raise walls against women, says the study. This will make it very difficult for women to participate in public life.

The patriarchal hierarchy in Bhutan, the study found, is dzongkhag-specific. Perception of women’s capability differs from one region to another. However, in all regions, subtle and subdued forms of male dominance are evident through a number of traditional values that are patriarchal in nature. These societal values could bar women from participating actively in the public sphere, says the study.

Half a century since modern education system was ushered in to give the citizens equal opportunities irrespective of gender difference, a large number of Bhutanese women still have low education and literacy level compared to men.

Bhutan today has a large number of women with less confidence in themselves. There is a barrier, says the study. more...

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