Against all odds

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Only female LG contender in Radhi, the youngest too

Peky Samal
from Radhi, Trashigang

The heat is on for 29-year-old Thinley Wangmo with critics citing her “lack of network” and inexperience as being possible barriers to her winning the post of Tshogpa, but the youngest and only female contender for the second Local Government (LG) elections from Radhi Gewog in Trashigang is confident that she will put up a tough fight against odds.
From Dekiling Tshenkhar Chiwog, the mother of two, looks startlingly adolescent-like in a fresh white tego, martha kira and simple flip flops.
Though divorced, Thinley Wangmo claims she is stronger and more independent after the experience. She admits that she might be a bit on the shy side but her primary-level schooling, and the fact that she feels more confident after attending empowering workshops held by Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW) will work in her favor.
“All the exposure and experience I got especially while talking to crowds in chiwog zomdus will I am sure seal the deal for me,” she added.
An ardent weaver who sells her handiwork to supplement her family’s income, she said now is the time when the country is going through major changes, especially in the way the society views women and their roles.
“With education and advocacy, women are capable of doing anything a man can,” she said.
If she is elected against the two other Tshogpa candidates from her chiwog, 36-year-old Phurba Dorji, and Pema Wangchuk, 42, she foresees herself acting as an effective communicator between the people and the government authorities. “I also hope to win because I deem myself capable and congenial,” she said, adding that despite what detractors say, she feels she has a pretty good network of supporters.
According to Thinley Wangmo, her biggest aspiration from the LG elections is to set an example of what women can be and achieve irrespective of age or domestic problems.
“I feel women have been relegated to the back for long simply because of lack of opportunities,” she said, “but now we are getting outlets to express and uplift ourselves so we must grab them as best as possible.”
Thinley Wangmo said BNEW has inspired her exceedingly and support from family and villagers has been of major help.
Meanwhile, she is awaiting the main polls, when she will contest against 13 male Tshogpa candidates from Radhi Gewog.