Recently, the exile Tibetan world has been in shock over the non-confirmation of the youngest member of the exile parliament in Dharamsala, India. Dhardon Sharling, whom many considered a deserving ministerial candidate, would have been the only woman appointed to the cabinet-in-exile as minister (or “Kalon” in Tibetan) on the occasion of her 35th birthday.
However, with only 14 out of 43 votes in favor of her induction, Sharling was voted down by the exile parliament. Her nomination had also been tabled in June due to not meeting the age requirement. This means that Sikyong Lobsang Sangay will have to find someone else to fill the vacancy.
Now, with an all-male cabinet, prime minister, and speaker of the parliament, many are noting the visible gender imbalance in our current exile leadership.
When many nations today are making great strides towards women’s political participation and attempting to break glass ceilings, will we start demanding more political representation for our Tibetan exile women? Is there a shortage of competent, qualified women leaders to represent us? Where do we go from here?
Asked for a comment for this post, Dhardon Sharling told us:
“The fact that my nomination as the only female candidate in the cabinet was approved in the first place speaks to my credentials and capacity to undertake this huge responsibility. The cause for the recent debacle in the parliament cannot be determined, but I believe every member of the parliament was only committing to their roles and responsibilities under certain circumstances and political scenarios. I am, however, convinced that it has nothing to do with me being a woman. So this still leaves room for a deserving female candidate to fill the post. The gender representation in our exile leadership is still skewed and deplorable. This reflects on the health of our community and it’s time we achieve a balanced representation in the leadership arena. One thing I truly hope to see happening is women empowering one another and women themselves acting as the biggest cheerleaders for each other.