Women Leadership Summit to mark 50th Anniversary of Bhutan’s membership to UN

The National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) in partnership with the UN Bhutan and UNDP will be hosting the Women’s Leadership Summit on March 8, coinciding with the International Women’s Day.

The Summit is a part of the year-long commemorative events to mark the 50th Anniversary of Bhutan’s membership to the UN and it will be graced by the Foreign Affairs Minister and also the Chairperson of NCWC, Lyonpo Dr Tandi Dorji.

Right Honorable Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and former Administrator of UNDP, will also speak at the Summit as Special Guest Speaker.

Celebrating women’s leadership, the one-day summit is intended to encourage and inspire women to assume leadership roles including in politics. Most importantly, it is aimed at identifying gaps, challenges, and recommendations for the overall advancement of women in both public and political spheres.

The Summit will be future focused with forward thinking discussions generating new ideas and executable approach around women in leadership at all levels and politics. It is intended to serve as a powerful catalyst to align leaders, catalysts, and policy makers, identify solutions to challenges, introduce new strategies, and fuel collaboration across related agencies in the advancement of gender equality and women empowerment. It is also in line with the continued commitment and efforts of the government.

The expected outcomes are creating a shared vision and recommendations for future direction, discovering the imperatives for change, establishing ideas to guide future course of action and fostering improved relationships and collaboration amongst key stakeholders to facilitate positive change and future.

The Women Leadership Summit, which will now be held twice every five years, will promote diversity by bringing on board policy makers, men and women from various backgrounds, which includes women leaders/future leaders and aspiring candidates for upcoming local government elections. The Summit will also help identify key issues, challenges, and opportunities for women in leadership and politics through presentations, dialogue, and interaction,

The Summit will also serve as a platform to forge common understanding and partnership amongst leaders, policy makers and participants to identify interventions to address challenges and barriers to women’s effective participation in the public and political spheres. Experienced women leaders will share insights and perspectives on overcoming challenges and positioning for future success. By bringing together women from different backgrounds, the summit will promote networking and knowledge sharing.

UNDP Resident Representative Anusa Kubota said that the world community has made tremendous progress in gender equality but women representations in leadership spheres remain dismal.

She said that studies show that gender stereotypes run deep in our societies and women are often portrayed as less capable than men. Changing deep rooted gender biases are not easy but possible.

She said certainly addressing structural barriers in leveling the uneven playing held needs to be accelerated.

According to her, recent experiences from the COVID pandemic response around the world clearly show that while women leaders were scrutinized closely, the largely demonstrated competent leadership and produced good results.

Dechen Dolker from Thimphu