Addressing a round table discussion organized by the Alliance Francaise Thursday evening in Kathmandu, Nepal’s prominent women activists have stressed on the need of state policies geared towards women empowerment, which would be instrumental in higher women performance.
Speaking on the theme of perception of women in the Nepalese society, Ms. Chandni Joshi, who worked decades for gender rights as the Regional Director of UNIFEM South Asia, expressed the view that women’s situation, in overall terms, has improved compared to previous decades. She said, “Various institutions such as the UN Women, Ministry for Women and Children, and Women’s Commission work for women empowerment.” “But a huge paradigm shift is required for gender equality,” she added. However, she was silent about what the paradigm shift would be like.
Similarly, former Constituent Assembly Member and lawyer Ms. Sapana Pradhan Malla characterized Nepali women’s status still marginalized, with widespread gender prejudices deep-rooted in the social psyche. ‘Justice systems are influenced by socio-cultural biases,” she remarked. Wondering why only women’s capacity is always questioned while that of men is never questioned, she was emphatic that psyche is the barrier, not men or women.
“Women have surely maintained Nepal’s sports image in the global arena,” Ms. Helga Rana Rayamajhi, national basketball player and a Generations for Peace Delegate from Nepal said very confidently. She argued that if Nepali women, amidst tough challenges, have apparently demonstrated their encouraging success in sports, they could perform far better with encouragement and facilitation.
Ms. Niru Rayamaji, from Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal, referred to Nepali women as “honest, sincere and resilient.” She laid stress on women’s economic empowerment, which would pave the ground for women empowerment in other sectors as well. For this, she referred to her own institution as an example of a force involved in empowering women economically through micro-entrepreneurship.
Participants posed questions and expressed their own opinions in the second half of the program.