Bhutan Government officials poised to break down gender barriers

Senior Bhutan Government officials plan to counter gender stereotypes and break down barriers to women’s participation as decision-makers in the workforce after completing an Australia Awards Short Course at The University of Queensland.

The Australia Awards Women in Executive Leadership Development Short Course was delivered by UQ International Development (UQID), drawing on the management and leadership expertise of UQ Business School.  The Australia Awards Short Course for South and West Asia is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

The Short Course is designed to provide practical ideas, tools and approaches to help senior-level executives combat challenges faced by women in leadership roles.

Dallas Dowsett, UQID Deputy Director, said the eleven female officials and five male officials would utilise the knowledge and skills gained from the course to develop and implement a Return to Work Plan appropriate to their work context in Bhutan.

“The course is tailored to ensure content addresses the specific challenges women executives face in the Bhutan public and private sectors,” said Ms Dowsett.

“Through a customised and action-based learning approach, Awardees are developing negotiation, conflict resolution and change management skills to help them manage difficulties and overcome roadblocks in their careers.

“The course also facilitates opportunities for the group to connect with leading academics and industry leaders who provided inspirational ways of thinking about leadership issues relevant to female managers.

“I’m confident the Awardees will return home with enhanced capacity for leadership, and will act as mentors and coaches for emerging female leaders in their workplace.”

Mr Chimi Dorji, Deputy Auditor General of Bhutan’s Royal Audit Authority, believes the course has provided him with the insight that there is a definite difference between a leader and leadership.

“Although leadership can be a natural talent, without training such as this you cannot be effective. This training means that we can apply these qualities and become more self-aware in our decisions, especially in the areas of adaptive challenge and unconscious bias,” he said.

Ms Phuntsho Lhamo, Chief Education Monitoring Officer of the Bhutan Education Monitoring Division, said the course had been hugely beneficial in enabling her to apply techniques that could make small, incremental daily changes.

“For now, I need to create gender balance in my team. Then once I have achieved this, I need to focus on the bigger challenge. I now need to take men on the journey and show how we can collaborate, enrich and come together,” said Ms Lhamo.

The third and final component of the course will be completed in May 2018 in Bhutan.

The Australia Awards Short Courses offer the next generation of global leaders an opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia while building people-to-people links with Australia and our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific region.

Last updated:
25 May 2020