Dharamsala, August 4, 2014: - Maintaining equal rights for Tibetan women guaranteed by the Charter of the Tibetans-in-Exile, Penpa Tsering, speaker of the Tibetan Parliament urged Tibetan women to strengthen their efforts to develop the empowerment of women.
A five-day training of Legal Empowerment of Tibetan Women in Exile, India began in Dharamshala, India, on 3 August. It is organised by the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) and will conclude on 7 August.
The participants had an audience with 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee and had a discussion on ‘Gender Identities-It’s all in the Mind’ from a book written by the young Karmapa Rinpoche, The Heart is Noble: Changing the World from Inside Out.'
The opening ceremony was graced by Mr Penpa Tsering, the speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile and Ms Kamla Bhasin, Feminist Activist, a Social Scientist by Training and South Asia’s Leading Gender trainer, which was attended by over 70 people, including representatives from Tibetan NGOs, five members of Tibetan Parliament in exile and 49 participants and six men from across India representing a cross-section of the exiled Tibetan population.
Speaker Penpa Tsering said 'Even though we do not have too much discrimination against women in comparison to some other societies.'
'There are many changes in our communities, both inside and outside Tibet. But we know that there is still a great need for the promotion of Tibetan women in various fields,' he added.
'As I said before, Tibetan women must help each other, putting more effort into empowering themselves. The equal rights for women guaranteed by the Charter of [the Tibetans-in-Exile], depends on themselves taking the equal opportunity,' Penpa Tsering further said.
The event also featured a book launch: Legal Handbook on Indian Laws and Acts Protecting Women and Children in India, (Tibetan and English Version) and Legal Empowerment of Tibetan Women in Exile-India, A Research Report, 2014.
“Human values are neither masculine nor feminine, they are human values and that is how we want our children to grow up, not as a boy or a girl, but as a human being with equal opportunities,” said Ms Kamla Vhasin.
Other speakers include Tsering Wangchuk, Special Consultant of Tibetan Cabinet; Lobsang Yeshi, Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile; Tenzin Tseyang, Women’s Empowerment Desk of Tibetan government in exile; Ms Jasmeen Patheja, Activist and Artist; Karma D Namgyal Khortsa, Advocate and Dhardon Sharling, Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile.
"The training will cover vital areas such as the practical aspects of understanding gender, patriarchy, gender socialization, tackling dilemmas and stereotypes, breaking the silence and the cycle, strategic communication-good practices and innovative tools, combating gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence, step by step guide to unapologetic walking, collectively defining sexual violence via mind mapping, building and sharing testimonies amongst group, evidence wall and insight generation, taking safe community pledge, and action for equality, empowerment and development," the group said in a statement.
In its statement the womens group also said it "believes that a program such as this one will remove the stigma, scepticism surrounding the need for any programs on women, gender and legal empowerment which TWA deem as social and a community imperative for bolstering the political and intellectual representation of Tibetan women in exile."