Women in Tibet

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As well as TWA’s international presence, working to raise awareness of the problems endured by Tibetan women in exile and in Tibet, it is a top priority of TWA to support the women inside Tibet as best we can and to disseminate information on their plight.

One crucial issue facing women in Tibet is the supression of reproduction rights; on this topic TWA has published a book entitled Tears of Silence, the first edition in 1994 and subsequent updated editions in 1995, 2002 and 2009. Research found that whilst forced abortions and compulosory sterilizations were no longer endemic after the 1980s, and the government’s approach changed in the mid 1990s to imposing fines rather than force, brutal enforcement of reproduction policies continues to occur. Furthermore, Tibetan women refugees reveal that women in Tibet are often unaware of their right to have more that two children, and to refuse abortions and sterilizations. They are also often unaware of alternative family planning methods such as contraception. This short video report on forced sterlization in Tibet offers a helpful introduction. In the light of China’s current plans to gain greater control of Tibet by resettling its entire nomadic population into fixed accomodation (see Purging the Treasure House: displacement and the status of the Tibetan nomad [TWA, 2011]), it seems that a wider enforcement of reproduction policies may be on the cards.

This page covers TWA’s work to support or campaign on behalf of women in Tibet. See our Tibet news page for other reports on Tibetan women.