People

People.jpgBhutanese are in general known as Drukpas (people of Druk). There are four main groups of people: the Ngalops (early originated), the Sharchop (easterners), the Lhotshampas (southerners of Nepalese origin) and several aboriginal people.

The ngalops are supposedly of Tibetan origin. They are believed to have settled in western and northern Bhutan as far back as the ninth century. In some foreign literature, this group of people is referred to as Bhote (people of Bhot or Tibet).

The sharchops, also included khengpas and bumthangpas, are believed to be of Indo-Mongoloid descent. They are predominantly settled in the central and eastern Bhutan.

The lhotshampas are Hindu population of Nepalese origin. They have mostly emigrated from eastern Nepal in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. They have settled in the southern foothills.

The last group consists of small aboriginal tribes settled in small pockets across the country like Doya, Lepcha, Monpa, Totoep, Tabap, Dramtoep, Lhop, and Koch. These groups are culturally and linguistically different. There is a small population of Tibetans who had settled in the country after the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet in 1959. The rugged terrains have limited inter-mingling of these different ethnic groups until the modernization in the 1960s.

Women

Women make up 48 percent of the total population. They enjoy relatively better position in terms of their customary rights over family inheritance. Traditionally, men deal with the matters outside the families (field works, cattle herding, business, etc) while women play a significant role in the household decisions and family management. The laws today treat women and men equally, and in fact, many of its provisions ensure rights and protection of women and children. While gender representation at the higher echelons of decision-making and governance is low, women’s participation in local meetings is as high as 70 percent. To the majority of the population, there is no preference for male-child over female-child.