Women organizations and Inter Party Women Network (IPWN) are going to launch a series of protest programs in the capital to press for their demand to ensure representation of 33 percent women in the next Constituent Assembly (CA).
The women activists made such decision after they failed to make the leaders of major political parties, including UPCN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, "serious" about the issue during Friday´s meeting with them.
“We had met them yesterday to press for the issue. Now we do not have much time as the countdown for the election has already begun,” said CPN-UML leader Radha Gyanwali, who is also the president of IPWN. “It is almost time to file the candidacy for the election. The date has been fixed. Yet, the leaders´ attitude shows that they just want us to wait for the decision regarding 33 percent representation.”
Gyanwali added that leaders of her party have already endorsed the demand but it cannot be effective until and unless there is proper mechanism.
According to Kalpana Dhamala of the UCPN (Maoist), who is also the general secretary of IPWN, the women should not let their representation be limited to 23 percent. “Nepal has already created a history by ensuring representation of 33 percent women in the last CA. Now, it should not just be the concern women to repeat that success this time too,” she said.
“The population of women is more than men in Nepal. This simple calculation is enough to argue that more women must be sent to the decision making level,” she said.
The women suggested for the urgent need of an ordinance and its passing by the president to press the election commission to ensure 33 percent representation of women in the CA. “But for this, the government should be ready and until and unless the parties are serious about it, things cannot move ahead,” Gyanwali said. “But we are going to launch protests to make it happen.”
According to experts, the percentage could come down as the proposed proportional representation (PR) electoral system in the upcoming election will account for only 50 percent, whereas it was around 58 percent the last time.