International Women's Day - 8 March 2014
Recognizing the efforts of women.
Annually and globally, 8 March is earmarked as a day to raise awareness on the plight of women on the face of discrimination, oppression, abuse, violence and injustice. It is a day when the world asserts attention to the widening gaps underlying the path of progress for women equity. While highlighting the crucial need for action to better the quality of lives for women; it is also a day to recognize their achievements without regard to divisions; whether nationality, ethnic, cultural, economic or political in nature.
All Bhutanese in spirit and action will come together on 8 March, International Women Day, to testify their support for holistic growth for women. “Equality for Women is progress for all” 2014’s theme validates the tremendous achievements women have made in economic, social and political dynamics, when access to education, technology and health care inter alia are provided without prejudice. Across the nation, RENEW through a network of dedicated volunteers will observe the day, celebrating the roles women play and/or have played in shaping lives positively; in homes, schools, offices and public spheres. From Haa, addressing the nation, Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, President of RENEW and UNFPA’s goodwill ambassador will vouch her interminable support to empower women from abuse and violence transgressions.
In her address, Her Majesty talks about the importance of observing the day “International Women Day is a global day to recognize, appreciate and celebrate our women. In almost all the countries, disparities among men and women is still a predominant issue affecting any country’s development. Observing such a day gives us an opportunity to celebrate the progress made for women's rights, women's empowerment and gender equality.”
In the year 2013 alone, RENEW has provided counseling services to as much as 350 women clients; and have since its establishment in 2004 serviced more than 1600 clients. Having to render help to Domestic Violence victims every single day is a concern that will not only cripple our women but will also hamper the long term stability of our nation too. The need for more efforts to advance women empowerment in Bhutan is imperative. It is on global platforms such as these, that issues impeding women progress can be brought up for discussion.
Donor agencies, supporters, organisations, media fraternity, Haa communities, schools were present to witness the international celebration in Gongzin Ugyen Dorji Higher Secondary School, Haa dzonkhag. Presenting her views that validate the theme “Equality for women is progress for all” the UN Women Office of India, Bhutan, Maldives & Sri Lanka Representative, Dr Rebecca Reichmann Tavares during the program said “Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all”.
Commending the efforts of organisations committed to improving the status of women in Bhutan, Hon’ble Chief Justice of Bhutan, Lyonpo Sonam Tobgay mentioned that women’s well being is pivotal for the advancement of humankind. In his nationwide address on IWD 2014, he said “Necessity to espouse the equality of man and woman supersede any letter of law, faith and customs……I believe that our common dreams of peace and our anguish over violence committed against women must give impetus to the issue, generate practical solutions and empower the victims. Women are and must be supported as social agents, to build social capital that contributes to strengthening the fabric of our societies.
Pledging her support, the Minister of Works & Human Settlement and also the Chairperson of NCWC, Lyonpo Dorji Choden said IWD is all about “Valuing the contributions that women have made in making this world a better place to live in; contributions not only through their work and labor, but also contributions through sufferings borne as a mother, wife, sister and daughter. In recognizing and valuing these contributions, let us all celebrate Womanhood as a Privilege”. Lyonpo Dorji is also the first and the only female minister in Bhutan.