Workshop for Parliamentarians on Gender Scrutiny of Legislation, Policy and Budget with the Bhutan Women Parliamentary Caucus (BWPC)

41 Members of Parliament and parliamentary staff of the National Assembly and National Council of Bhutan participated in two consecutive 3-day workshops on Gender Scrutiny of Legislation, Policy and Budget, taking place between 29-31 March and 6-8 April 2021, as part of the INTER PARES Partnership with the Parliament of Bhutan. The workshop was co-organised with the Bhutan Network for Empowering Women, which acts as the Secretariat of the Bhutan Women’s Parliamentary Caucus. The Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy also contributed to the workshop.

"Gender equality is not just a human right. More than human rights, it is key to human development" - Jonathan Murphy, Head of the INTER PARES programme

The hybrid workshop (with online and on-site participation) included high-level participation from the Parliament of Bhutan and EU Delegation to India and Bhutan:

  • HE Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, Minister for Health & Chair of the Parliamentary Caucus
  • HE Lyonpo Wangchuk Namgyel, Hon. Speaker of the National Assembly of Bhutan
  • HE Lyonpo Tashi Dorji, Hon. Chairperson of the Nation Council, Parliament of Bhutan
  • HE Ambassador Ugo Astuto, EU Delegation to India and Bhutan
  • Daniel Hachez, Minister-Counsellor and Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan

The workshop included presentations, intensive group work and exchanges with parliamentary experts from the parliaments of Ireland, Italy, Slovakia and Wales, and from the Women’s Council Denmark and from the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD). 

During the sessions, participants talked about the importance of assessing laws, policies and the national budget from a gender perspective and holding the government to account on gender equality progress. The MPs familiarised themselves with a five-step model for gender scrutiny which can be applied in their work and which involves:

  • Putting gender on the agenda from the start 
  • Gathering evidence on gender 
  • Asking the right questions 
  • Inspiring change
  • Monitoring the actual outcome 

On the last day, the parliamentarians drafted a Gender Scrutiny Action Plan, which will allow the Parliament of Bhutan to play an active role in translating aspirations into action and bring about change for gender equality and scrutiny of legislation and budget. The plan also includes an extensive list of legislative acts that the Parliament of Bhutan aims to review from a gender perspective in the coming year.

The Bhutan Women Parliamentary Caucus (BWPC) seminar gathered 41 MPs and staff of the Parliament of Bhutan, with the required COVID-19 safety measures in place. All other participants and parliamentary experts joined online via the Microsoft Teams platform.

The INTER PARES Partnership with the Parliament of Bhutan continues its programming and activities remotely at this time and we will update our partnership page as we progress in the next few months.