ཡུམ། Tibetan Women's Reality

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Q&A: Response to Sikyong Sangay: “The Tibetan community has always held women in high esteem”


(Photo credit: IMs BILDARKIV)

A reader asked about my thoughts on a recent quote from our political leader Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay. Thanks for the question, here’s a look at what I think.

Q: “The Tibetan community has always held women in high esteem”, said Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay at a three-day workshop on women empowerment which began on 17th December, 2013. So, i hope you might be research on the status of women in our community. I really want to know that what is your opinion for the above statement.
A: It’s easy to say we’re doing great, but look are what is actually happening, have these words been supported by actions? The truth is that our government has done very little for women. Words are free, but have funds been set aside for a women’s shelter or to subsidize school fees for single mothers? No. Do our leaders propose any solutions for the problems of domestic and sexual violence? No, they will not even acknowledge that these problems exist. This is certainly a strange kind of “high esteem” that doesn’t lift a finger to offer help.
In Tibetan culture, it seems that we have so much respect for our own mothers, but not necessarily for women in general. Although we want compassionate treatment for the women in our lives we feel personally connected to, we don’t mind if the neighbor beats his wife every night. A lot of times, if a husband beats his wife, others Tibetans think, “poor guy, his wife must be really bad.” If we could only extend the respect we have for our mothers, to picture our own mothers in the place of other women who are raped or beaten, we would truly be in good shape.

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