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Sikyong Candidates on Women's Leadership

posted Mar 22, 2016, 3:31 PM by The Tibetan Political Review

Courtesy of Canada Tibet Committee

Excerpt of interview of Lobsang Sangay and Penpa Tsering conducted by the Canada Tibet Committee. The precise question asked to both candidates was: "How would you bring more women into leadership positions within the CTA?"

Response - Lobsang Sangay

(transcribed from at 22:11)

The three guiding principles of my administration are unity, innovation and self-reliance. For unity I say: non-regional; non-sectarian; non-gender. And obviously there are other elements to it. So gender equality and women empowerment are very important. We have programs in the CTA to do that.

Not only that, actually if you look at my 7 colleagues in cabinet, I have appointed 2 women: one to take care of the Home Department, which is the largest department; and the second largest department is the International Relations. Both are led by very capable women. So you can clearly see that I trusted that they would do a good job. In four years they have done a very good job.

Then if you go down, you will see that even in education there are more girls graduating from high school than boys. There are more girls getting scholarship when they go to college than boys. And in fact there are more women in the graduate level MA, MPhil , and PhD than men. So you can clearly see that in education they are doing well.

Economically Tibetan women have always done well. They have always equally participated in income-generating activities. So Tibetan women, by-in-large are doing relatively well but then we continue to improve and keep providing facilities.

Response - Penpa Tsering

(transcribed from at 13:23)

Women have always played a very important role, but unfortunately in the CTA and also I think, elsewhere, once women get married then their priorities get diverted. Even under the present circumstances I think we have more women in the CTA than men but unfortunately there are very few women at the top level. But now we have new trends coming up. We have quite a number of ladies in the rank of additional secretary and unless they resign, they are going to assume important roles within the CTA.

Now what is important is to harness the younger generation of Tibetans, particularly women or girls who are going into colleges and they would need… I believe that there should be a guardian-student relationship so that students can have a regular connection with one of the political leaders or official within the CTA so that they can always reach out to the concerned people. I have been conducting workshops for grade 10, 11, and college level students since 2003 but we have always said we need equal number of girls, if not more, going to colleges, universities and schools. We have to encourage more girls to participate in the opportunities that are prevailing right now.

And then I think things are going to change for the better, particularly for women, because the social behavior is also changing. Now there is a lot more respect for women and a lot more respect for women’s wisdom and their patience and perseverance.

So there also has to be effort from the women themselves that they will take up the responsibility. They will also need to commit themselves that they will not resign half way through – go all out to reach wherever they have to reach.

There is already a section that is looking for women’s empowerment and I am sure we can devise many more projects that will help women’s empowerment.

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