Educated and empowered: Female Tshogpa candidates in Boomdeling

Peky Samal
from Boomdeling,Trashiyangtse

Educated women, even if they are non-formally, are becoming a force to reckon with, if the portfolio of the only three women Local Government (LG) candidates in Boomdeling gewog in Trashiyangtse is anything to go by.
All of them are vying for post of Tshogpa in their respective chiwogs.
Thirty-four year old Karma Kinzang Wangmo from Bomdhir Wogmanang Gewog speaks with steely determination about her plans to contest for the post of Tshogpa.
The mother of two has completed Non-Formal Education (NFE), and believes that “participation is more important than winning”.
“I can’t guarantee that I will win for sure but the fact that I am taking part in the elections speaks volumes about how seriously I take His Majesty’s constant encouragement to womenfolk to challenge themselves.”
About her plans in case she wins, she says she will ensure that the budget is best used for her chiwog.
The only challenge she foresees if she is elected as Tshogpa is low expectations and support for a female local leader from the community.
“But I say, women can and must participate. Only women will have the empathy to understand other people’s problems better,” says Karma Kinzang Wangmo, “As for me, I won’t take things lying down.”
Karma Kinzang Wangmo is up against another female contender from her chiwog, Singye Wangmo, 26, also a NFE graduate and a mother of two.
“I am taking part so that people can benefit from what I have to offer,” she says.
Singye Wangmo wants to work for “backward, poor” people now that she has got a chance to prove herself.
She has no qualms about saying that she has a lot to learn but will put in her best efforts to observe and absorb ideas and feedback from more experienced leads, translating them into action.
A former, older woman Tshogpa and the support and encouragement of villagers who prodded her to contest have inspired Singye Wangmo.
Karma Kinzang Wangmo and Singye Wangmo have three male opponents.
The final female Tshogpa candidate is 29-year-old Che Che from Gangkhardoong Tshaleng Chiwog.
Che Che is a Class XI graduate who had to drop out of school due to family problems.
Her husband is a farmer and she has two children.
Citing her reason to contest in the LG elections, she said that the government has been trying its best to push women forward.
“And if educated women won’t, who will?” she asks.
She adds that she has high hopes of winning because, her chiwog has more number of female voters and she is sure women will support her.
“I will try to facilitate completion of our farm road, black top it, and also arrange a proper goenkhang for the village lhakhang.”
Che Che will be vying against two male candidates for post of Tshogpa.
Boomdeling Gewog has 1,627 total voters: 764 male, and 863 female.