The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small mountainous country located in the eastern Himalayas bordered by India and China. Bhutan has a population of about 740,000 and approximately 47,000 square kilometers. Much of the population lives in the central highlands and almost two-thirds are classified as rural inhabitants. The per capita gross national income in 2011 raised to $2,070, one of the highest in South Asia. Bhutan is also characterized by good progress in human development, particularly in gender equality. Gender equality in basic education has been achieved, but challenges remain in higher education. Female students account only for about 50/60 percent of the number of males at the university level, markedly lower than the South Asia average of 70 percent (World Bank). Only 10 percent of female workers hold jobs as regular paid employees, compared to 30 percent of male workers. Women account for 48 percent of the labor market (Labor Force Survey, 2009), yet make up only 31 percent of civil servants.

In order to address these remaining gender disparities, the World Bank and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, are supporting the Royal Government of Bhutan through an in-depth gender analysis that provided recommendations for both men and women economic empowerment.

Projects

Grant Title Project Status Programs Funded Objective
Bhutan - Infrastructure Gaps Mapping for Inclusive Growth Active Infrastructure For Growth Analytical and advisory support is provided within this activity to support rehabilitation of one of Bhutan’s main cultural assets – traditional villages – and promote alternative livelihood opportunities, such as tourism. It aims at informing policy making on resource allocation that best serve and promote the rural areas and populations most isolated from the country’s wider growth.
Bhutan - Gender Policy Note Closed South Asia Gender initiative To inform the government of policy about narrowing gender gaps in multiple aspects of economic empowerment by conducting quantitative and qualitative research, examining patterns for both men and women.
Bhutan Electric Vehicles (EV) Initiative Approved progress Infrastructure For Growth To provide support to the Bhutan Electric Vehicle Initiative, as well as to facilitate advice and knowledge exchange on green urban development and transport, and on use of clean energy in transport.