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One-third participation of women is not a complete achievement

"For women who make up half of the society, the provision of one-third participation is not a complete achievement. Therefore, we must continue to strive for full proportional representation while protecting the gains made.'
"Since gender equality is a common concern of both men and women, both men and women need an equal and active role for this."
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For the continuation of the human race, nature has made men and women biologically interdependent with some different roles. This natural biological variation and interdependence is indispensable for the survival of human populations. In addition, social, emotional and economic interdependence between women and men has been maintained during the development of society.

One-third participation of women is not a complete achievement

Although men and women have different biological roles or responsibilities, these roles are complementary and interrelated. Today's human society and civilization has been built through this interrelationship and interdependence between men and women.

After going through many stages of spiritual development from the primitive age to today's modern age, the gap between men and women has been dug by the human race itself. Many misogynist practices and traditions were given religious, social, cultural and legal recognition to institutionalize this type of unnatural distinction created by society between men and women. On the basis of which the patriarchal society has been treating women as second-class citizens for ages, many revolts and movements have been conducted all over the world against it.

These types of campaigns and movements for gender equality are still continuing today. Today, even in some countries called civilized, developed and democratic, it has not been long since women got the right to help . But eight decades ago, Yogamaya led a great rebellion in Bhojpur of eastern Nepal and sacrificed herself by jumping into the Urlando valley of the Arun river with her 68 followers to end social discrimination such as sati, child marriage and untouchability in our country.

Similarly, in the year 2004, towards the end of the royal regime, conscious women such as Sahana Pradhan, Sadhana Pradhan, Mangaladevi Singh and others started a movement demanding that women should be allowed to study and participate in voting.

As a result, Nepali women exercised their right to vote for the first time in the Kathmandu municipal elections held on August 17, 2010 after the end of the royal regime.

In the seven decades since then, we have seen many big changes in the political, social and economic system of Nepal. As a result of various movements, social awareness and awareness campaigns for social justice, women's rights and gender equality, we have achieved remarkable achievements in the field of women's rights and gender equality from the constitutional, policy and legal point of view.

On June 16, 2063, the then restored House of Representatives passed 4 important 'Special Resolutions' (resolutions of urgent public importance) on women's rights. Based on this 'special proposal', the Constitution of Nepal has adopted the fundamental rights of women including the right to equality of women, the right to proportional participation, the right to reproductive health, prohibition of violence against women.

Due to the constitutional, policy, legal and structural arrangements made on behalf of the state, representation of one-third of women in the important bodies of the state and representative structures of the union, state and local levels has been ensured .

In this way, education, health, employment, property ownership, labor participation and other indicators have increased and the overall gender development index of Nepal has also improved. As a result, our achievements in the field of women's empowerment and gender equality have become exemplary for the world women's movement.

Despite various policy and programmatic efforts, due to ancient patriarchal thinking, poverty, illiteracy, superstition and some bad practices existing in our society for a long time, there are still challenges in the practical implementation of the rights provided by the constitution and laws.

In our society, even today, misogynist bad traditions like child marriage, polygamy, dowry and tilak system, chaupadi, accusation of witchcraft are persisting . Likewise, Nepali women are still victims of heinous violence such as domestic violence, acid attacks, sexual abuse, rape and murder. In this way, the customs, traditions, values ​​and beliefs that are deeply rooted in the society cannot be changed only through legal means . For this, we should continuously conduct awareness campaign in every aspect and sector of the society including family, community, educational institution, workplace. The mass media world can also play an important role in social awareness and awareness campaigns in favor of ending all kinds of violence and discrimination against women and gender equality.

In the same way, we should all continue our continuous efforts for the educational and economic empowerment of women as well as the cultural transformation of the society as a whole, and for all these, the state should also increase the investment sufficiently .

Now I would like to say something about the representation and participation of women in leadership and policy-making levels. Due to personal background and specific socio-political circumstances, only a few women in any country can reach high leadership and policy decision-making levels, including the country's top executive positions. Even when the women's rights movement was not developed, in South Asian countries including India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh, women managed to reach high executive positions in those countries long ago. It must have a positive effect on the common women of those countries.

Women who reach leadership positions act as role models for other women and girls and can inspire them to reach for leadership themselves. Also, they can inspire young women to break the stereotypes about gender roles and move forward. However, real gender equality requires systemic change at all levels of society.

The system of representation of one-third of women in the important bodies and structures of the state established in our country is the result of this systemic change. Therefore, this is an important achievement achieved by Nepali women in the field of women's participation. For women who occupy half of the society, the system of one-third participation is not a complete achievement . Therefore, we must continue to strive for full proportional representation while protecting the gains made.

Women's empowerment, representation and participation are seen as key means of achieving gender equality. The intention of gender equality is to create an environment in which equal rights as well as responsibilities towards family, society and nation are equally distributed to both men and women.

Since gender equality is a common concern of both men and women, I would like to emphasize that it requires an equal and active role of both. For the practical implementation of the constitutional and legal provisions for gender equality, it is necessary for both women and men to have the same concept and understanding on this matter.

Therefore, when conducting awareness and empowerment campaigns for women's rights and gender equality, both women and men should be targeted. For the benefit and well-being of women, children, senior citizens as well as the marginalized communities of the society, the state needs to increase its investment in the field of social security. Without a strong and strong national economy, the state cannot increase investment in this sector .

After the great political change, our country is now on the path of economic prosperity. Although our country is going to be upgraded from the list of least developed countries to a developing country in the near future, it is still not possible to feel positive changes in people's lives in accordance with people's aspirations.

Our economy is not becoming self-sustainable due to the fact that we are not able to use and properly manage our precious natural resources .

We have to depend on imports for everything from expensive luxury goods to daily consumables including food. Due to this, our trade deficit is increasing day by day.

Therefore, the main challenge for us now is to develop a self-sustaining national economy by increasing domestic production and productivity through the sustainable use of natural resources and cultural assets available in the country and the mobilization of young manpower.

Likewise, the sad reality of young manpower and large sums of money migrating abroad in search of employment opportunities and quality education is now in front of us. To prevent this, it is very necessary to provide quality education and create jobs in the country, so that a sustainable, independent and self-supporting economy based on domestic production and income can be built instead of a dependent economy based on remittances and customs duties imposed on imported goods.

Only in this way can the state be able to make necessary investments for the practical implementation of the rights of citizens guaranteed by the constitution and laws. In addition to these issues, due to global phenomena such as climate change, internal and external migration and foreign employment, challenges have been added to our development efforts and women are being affected more by these phenomena.

Therefore, I would like to draw the attention of the relevant parties to the need to develop necessary strategies to minimize the negative effects of these incidents on women.

- An edited part of the statement given by former President Bidyadevi Bhandari as the keynote speaker at the 'Nirbhik Nari' program organized by Kantipur Publications Limited on 29th Chait 2080 in Kathmandu.

प्रकाशित : चैत्र २९, २०८० १२:२०
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