04 July 2019, Kathmandu
Women’s rights are the rights that plays vital role in establishing the same political, economic and social status for women as for men in a society or community. Women’s right is guaranteed with no discrimination on the basis of their sex. The issues regarding women’s right is not a new one. In the earlier time, there were distinctive differences between the roles to be played by men and women in a society or community. At that time and even now, most of the women’s are confined with the major role of a homemaker only looking for their children’s and families or remaining busy in the household chores.
However, considerable changes have been found since those times. Today, gender roles have been shifted leaving strong impact on society and their models of behavior. The emancipation of women’s movement regarding women rights created some of the most significant changes securing their rights. Women effort has ensured their voicing rights, equal employment opportunities along with reproductive rights.
In addition to this, because most women are lacking educational and economic resources that would enable them to challenge the existing social order, still women in Nepal are compelled to accept their inferior status as the only option. Women rights are only taken as granted in the world today as there is a long way to go in order to achieve the true equality. Despite this fact, women have continued to struggle to determine the origin of their oppression for long years, decades and even centuries. They came with a conclusion that patriarchy is the major hindrance in order to achieve gender equality both legal and, civil. Many INGO’S and NGO’s including UN women, WHR( Women for Human Right Nepal) are holding substantive efforts to promote gender equality and women empowerment in Nepal including affirmative policies and laws, mandatory participation of women sectors and zero tolerance policy on sexual and domestic violence.
Women for Human Right Nepal is an organization which works to secure the political, social, cultural, and economic rights of single women in Nepal encompassing 1 lakhs and 25 thousand members around the world serving in 18 districts of the country. It is continuously working to break the patriarchal thoughts deeply rooted in the society against women particularly single women. Lily Thapa, the founder of WHR said that Nepali society still has the confined thinking over single women in Nepal. The majority of the widows in Nepal are illiterate as per the 2010 census and this is the major cause for them to be economically strong and pursue their lives ahead. However, now the situation is far more improved comparing to the past, Thapa further added that “now the widows themselves are becoming the agent of social change in the Nepali society leading the whole community”. Even, Government of Nepal has strongly mentioned the issues of single women in their mainstream policy comprising 10th to 15th national planning.
Similarly, the national women’s commission has constitutional status and gender features across all development policies and programs including through gender responsive budgeting system that covers 22 percent of the total budget. Women enjoy all fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in Nepal’s new constitution, with article 43 devoted to the rights to lineage, safe maternity and reproduction, protection against all forms of exploitation and equality in family matters and property.
Throughout the course of history, women roles in society have been ever challenging. Their roles in society were not even close to what they are today. Though, the rise of feminist theories have been focusing on the analyzing issues like gender inequality, discrimination, objectivation, oppression, patriarchy, stereotyping, contemporary arts and aesthetics, Nepali women still do not have equal status as their male counterparts. The new constitution of Nepal has reserved 33 percent seats for women in federal and provincial parliament and has brought wave of women leadership in politics, however, disparities among Nepali women further paint a gloomy picture.
Thus, ensuring women rights and gender equality in every realm, the voicing of women and girls should be heard in the global and national decision making. National policies and programs should be designed keeping women issues in the central. Similarly, women should be enriched with gender sensitive education. So far giving proper value to women work and getting women into power is the key to ensure women right. Gender equality can be promoted creating an inclusive culture and enabling women to develop to their full potential.