Dharamshala: - Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sanga expressed the 14th Kashag's firm commitment towards women's empowerment and gender equality, saying Tibetan women are playing an increasingly prominent role in all aspects of contemporary Tibetan society.
He was speaking Wednesday (6 August) at a five-day "training for trainers" program on the legal empowerment of Tibetan women in exile, which was organized by the Tibetan Women's Association.
In his address, Sikyong talked about the importance of women's empowerment and its pertinence in today's world for a holistic growth of a community. He also spoke about the 14th Kashag's priority placed on gender equality, as encapsulated in 'Unity', one of the three guiding principles of the current Kashag.
Sikyong said that women are playing an increasingly prominent role in all aspects of contemporary Tibetan society. "We have two female Kalons in the 14th Kashag, heading two of the largest departments of the Central Tibetan Administration. There are also an increasing number of women leading the Tibetan struggle at the grassroots level," Sikyong said.
"Even among the staff, over 30% of the current staff in the Central Tibetan Administration is female. Over 24% of the joint secretary level officials in the CTA hierarchy are women, with two additional secretaries. We have also appointed a woman as the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in South Africa, to emphasize the role played by women in the administrative and politics of the democratic Tibetan community," Sikyong added.
Sikyong also spoke about the steps taken by the Central Tibetan Administration to cater to the healthcare needs of Tibetan women. He said: "Socio-political issues aside, we also try to look after the healthcare needs of women through various healthcare programs, including the reproductive health and mother and child health programs conducted by the department of health."
Speaking on education, Sikyong emphasised the importance of education for the overall empowerment of women and called for a collective investment in education from all corners of Tibetan society.
He said that as compared to the past, there is an increased attention towards education in the Tibetan community. "This year, 321 students scored above 75% in the class 12 board exams. It is an increase of 150% as compared to 127 students in 2010. Moreover, the department of education sanctioned 507 scholarships worth 3.4 crores this year. The majority of recipients of these scholarships are girls," he said.
Condemning the recent sexual violence incidents in Gopalpur, Mundgod, and in Nepal, Sikyong assured the strictest possible measures to curb such incidents in the future, and urged that there would be zero-tolerance towards such incidents.
"Such incidents are criminal in nature and against the law of the host country. Therefore, the perpetrators will be handed over to the police without any hesitation," Sikyong said, adding, the Kashag has published a guideline to pre-empt such incidents from happening in future.
The five-day training is attended by 65 participants including five men, from various parts of India. The inaugural session of the training was presided over by Mr. Penpa Tsering, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile.