People and Society

The three main ethnic groups, the “Sharchops”, “Ngalops” and the “Lhotsampas” (of Nepali origin) make up today’s Drukpa population. The earliest residents of Bhutan are the Sharchops, whose origins can be traced to the tribes of northern Burma and northeast India. The Ngalops migrated from the plains of Tibet and brought buddhism into the land. The other minority groups are the Bumthaps and the Khengpas of Central Bhutan, the Kurtoeps in Lhuentse, the Brokpas and the Bramis of Merak and Sakteng in eastern Bhutan, the Doyas of Samtse, and, finally, the Monpas of Rukha villages in WangduePhodrang. Together the multiethnic Bhutanese population number just over 700,000.

In every community, people gather to discuss and improve the living surroundings and upgrade the communities’ hygiene. There is cooperation and understanding, which benefits both parties and helps our country stay clean and peaceful. The law treats all men and woman equally; its provisions protect the rights and interests of women and children. Women are actively involved in all areas of economic, political and social life: as farmers, entrepreneurs, decision-makers, doctors, engineers, and homemakers. Bhutanese women do not face any institutionalized form of discrimination: politically, socially, economically, or legally.

Today, women are encouraged to work in decision-making in higher level positions in the government. There is no significant preference for the male child over the female among most sections of the population; and sex-biased abortions are unknown among the Bhutanese. The concept of the ‘head of households’ is a relative one. Household decision-making varies from one issue to another and on the capacity of the individual. There is no fixed appointment of roles to either the wife or the husband; man and woman share an understanding of equal work load in their own households today. In a case of divorce, laws provide fair share for equitable spousal and child support.