Photo above from the BNEW website shows three women who have played a key role in the brief history of BNEW. On the left is the former Director of the National Commission for Women and Children; in the middle is the first female Minister in the history of Bhutan, Lyonpo Dorji Choden; and to the right is Phuntshok Tshering, who has been the visionary and hard working Coordinator of BNEW since the very beginning in 2012.   

During my years as Director of DIPD, the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy, I was responsible for the programme in Bhutan. The largest activity was the support for the platform of elected women called BNEW, and I have no doubt that BNEW will continue to play an important role in the further development of democracy in Bhutan – just like it has done so far. Please follow the work of BNEW on the website!

The beginning

The Bhutan Network for Empowering Women – BNEW – has been established as an outcome of the first-ever National consultation of elected women representatives organized in March 2012 by theDepartment of Local Government (MoHCA) and National Commission for Women and Children(NCWC), with support from DIPD and UNWOMEN.

Originally conceived as the Bhutan Network of ‘Elected’ Women, due to concerns that the word ‘elected’ excludes a range of other groups or categories of women such as those interested, aspiring, potential and unsuccessful in politics in particular. Hence, the decision to switch from ‘Elected’ to ‘Empowering’ in a move to convey the message that BNEW is more inclusive as the alternative word is also more encompassing in meaning and nature. However, the goal of BNEW will remain that of getting more women inspired to participate and be elected in politics at local government and national levels.

The vision

The vision of BNEW is to awaken a deep sense of responsibility in women and work on facilitating to get more of them to take active part in governance, politics and development. Eventually, BNEW envisages to become a cutting edge center for democracy, leadership and gender equality education to prepare and support women candidates to participate with the right knowledge, attitude, conviction and confidence.

BNEW will work towards facilitating and supporting women to advance their leadership in all spheres of society and create role models for all women to be inspired and encouraged ,to lead and be ‘ambitious’. To ignite and open the doors to the ‘top’ for a young generation of women leaders in Bhutan will ask of BNEW as the platform to advocate, educate, coach, mentor, support and nurture women and girls consistently, whilst changing mindsets in society at large to create the spaces and possibilities will have to a simultaneous priority.

The objectives

  • Providing a networking platform for women’s empowerment and leadership
  • Building leadership capacity and skills
  • Coaching, Mentoring and Nurturing support to women
  • Media relations, advocacy and publicity on women’s empowerment and leadership
  • Establishment of resource cum service centern the