NEPAL: Address Women's Issues: Activists

Thursday, October 10, 2013
E Kantipur
Southern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Human Rights

While political parties are busy preparing for the second Constituent Assembly (CA) election and working on their manifestos, women rights activists on Wednesday analysed various parties' last CA election manifestos and suggested ways to include gender issues in their documents better this time.

The activists found that when election manifestos are prepared with the participation of women , they reflect women 's concerns better and in detail. For example, while most parties focused on general gender equity during the last CA election, the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party included issues such as adult women literacy, paid maternity leave and protection from witchcraft accusations and deceptive marriages.

The activists said that in order to get women 's votes, parties' manifestos should clearly state that rights against all forms of gender-based discriminations and violence will be ensured; women will be protected from all forms of gender biases and prejudices, including biased traditions and cultural practices.

They also urged the parties to ensure that women on their own will be able to provide citizenships to their children; both married and unmarried women will be able to enjoy equal rights, especially property rights; all women have the right to choose partners, reproduce and divorce; and women will enjoy equal economic, social and political rights.

“What we demand is a complete gender equality as our fundamental right,” said Durga Sob, chairperson of the Feminist Dalit Organisation, present at a programme organised by Sankalpa, an alliance of NGOs working in the field of women rights, in Lalitpur on Wednesday.

Inclusion advocates are miffed that women constitute only around 12 percent of the total candidates fielded for the first-past-the-post system of election by the three major parties: the UCPN (Maoist), the Nepali Congress and the CPN (UML).

So far, only the Rashtriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal has released its election manifesto.