Photo credit: Andrea Williams
March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women and acknowledge the ongoing challenges to reach gender equality. The celebration of International Women’s Day also brings attention to the work of civil society organizations who play a fundamental role in supporting women’s rights. Below is a brief glimpse at three unique Bhutanese CSOs that focus on women’s empowerment and use educational programs to achieve their objectives.
RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women)1 was founded in 2004 by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wangchuck to empower survivors of domestic violence as well as sexual and gender based violence. Their services include counselling, legal aid, shelter, emergency medical aid, educational scholarships, and capacity building for entrepreneurs. RENEW has worked in schools and youth to increase consciousness and build dialogues on gender based violence, gender equality, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Established in 2012, Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BNEW)2 promotes and facilitates the leadership of women, particularly in community and local government. BENEW aims to achieve gender equality in Bhutan by providing a networking platform for women, building leadership capabilities, and advocating to transform societal mindsets and attitudes. Recently BNEW ran a series of educational workshops for journalists to promote gender sensitive reporting and encourage female perspectives that challenge gender stereotypes.
Bhutan Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAOWE)3 supports the needs and aspirations of women entrepreneurs and uses a GNH perspective to achieve female economic empowerment. Established in 2010, BAOWE’s programs include BAOWE-Pelzing: Microfinance Institute, capacity building for rural and urban women, and networking opportunities with both regional and international entrepreneurs. In 2018, BAOWE organized training sessions for farmers to strengthen their economic opportunities.
Visit RENEW, BNEW, and BAOWE to learn more about how they promote gender equality and women’s rights in Bhutan.
1 Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women (RENEW). 2019, http://renew.org.bt/.
2 Bhutan Network for Empowering Women (BENEW). 2019, https://bnew.bt/.
3 Bhutan Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAOWE). 2017, http://www.baowe.org/.