On the event of International Women Day, taking a gander at the state of Women of Nepal
CHHORI KO JANMA HAREY KO KARMA’, WHICH LITERALLY TRANSLATES TO ‘A DAUGHTER IS BORN WITH A DOOMED FATE’, IS A COMMONLY USED PHRASE IN NEPAL TO PORTRAY A WOMAN’S LIFE. Ladies IN NEPAL HAVE COME A LONG WAY IN TERMS OF NOT ONLY GETTING THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECEIVE AN EDUCATION BUT ALSO WITH THE CONSTITUTION ENSHRINING THEIR RIGHT TO PARENTAL PROPERTY. However, EVEN IN THIS AGE GENDER DISCRIMINATION IS CONSIDERED ‘Ordinary’ IN OUR SOCIETY.
A portion OF THE ISSUES STILL BEING FACED BY WOMEN ARE GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE, CHILD MARRIAGE, TRAFFICKING, UNEQUAL REPRESENTATION AND PARTICIPATION IN DECISION MAKING, AND NOT TO FORGET THE GENERAL LACK OF RESPECT IN SOCIETY. Cliché GENDER ROLES HAVEN’T BEEN EASY FOR WOMEN ESPECIALLY IN RURAL AREAS.
THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY WAS A MOVEMENT TO CELEBRATE WOMEN IN A MAN-DOMINATED SOCIETY. IT WAS A MOVEMENT FOR WOMEN TO HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS. Yet, SHOULD WE REALLY BE CELEBRATING WOMEN’S DAY INSTEAD OF TREATING EVERYONE EQUALLY EVERY DAY?
WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT REALLY MAKE TO A WOMAN WHEN WE CELEBRATE A CERTAIN DAY AS WOMEN’S DAY AND THEN SHE HAS TO GET BACK TO THE SAME ROUTINE FROM THE NEXT DAY? Furthermore, WHAT IS IT TO BE A WOMAN IN NEPAL SPECIFICALLY?
Previous MISS NEPAL ZENISHA MOKTAN SHARES THAT EVEN AS A CELEBRITY SHE HAS FACED DISCRIMINATION IN DIFFERENT FORMS. “I’m NOT TALKING ABOUT COOKING OR DOING THE MUNDANE HOUSEHOLD CHORES. IT IS THE WAY I AM TREATED IN SOCIETY JUST BECAUSE I AM A FEMALE,” SHE SAYS.
Observing WOMEN’S DAY IS A NICE OCCASION BECAUSE WOMEN HAVE COME FAR, MOKTAN MENTIONS, ADDING, “However WHEN YOU PAUSE AND REFLECT THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT STILL HAVE NOT CHANGED.” SHE SAYS THAT IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT OUR RIGHTS BEING ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION BUT THEIR IMPLEMENTATION TOO.
“IT ACTUALLY MAKES NO DIFFERENCE IF A WOMAN HAS HER RIGHTS SECURED IN THE CONSTITUTION BUT HAS TO FACE DISCRIMINATION ON A DAILY BASIS FOR EVERY SMALL THING.”
Then, SHREETI PRADHAN, A MUSIC THERAPIST AND STUDENT OF BUDDHIST STUDIES IN RYI UNIVERSITY, SAYS, “IT’S NOT ABOUT ONLY ONE INCIDENT WHERE I FELT DISCRIMINATED. IT IS EVERYWHERE AND IT HAPPENS EVERY DAY.”
SHE ADDS THAT CHANGE HAS TO FIRST BEGIN AT HOME. “IT DOES NOT FEEL GOOD TO TALK ABOUT IT BUT IT IS A FACT THAT WOMEN ARE FIRST DISCRIMINATED AT HOME ITSELF,” SHREETI STATES. “OUR SOCIETY IS VERY PATRIARCHAL EVEN TO THIS DAY,” SHE MENTIONS CITING THE EXAMPLE OF A DAUGHTER HAVING TO SEEK PERMISSION FOR EVERY SMALL THING WHILE A SON CAN MOST OFTEN DO AS HE PLEASES.
ONE ISSUE SHREETI STRONGLY FEELS ABOUT IS RELATED TO THE TIME WHEN A WOMAN IS GOING THROUGH HER MENSTRUAL CYCLE. “Monthly cycle IS PURELY A BIOLOGICAL PHENOMENON AND EVEN DURING THAT PERIOD WE ARE TOLD TO DO THIS OR ABSTAIN FROM THAT,” SHE SAYS, ADDING, “TO MAKE THINGS WORSE IT IS USUALLY THE WOMEN-FOLK WHO ARE PRACTICING THIS.”
“FOR ME FEMINISM IS NOT JUST ABOUT WOMEN OR TAKING OUT PROCESSIONS. IT IS ABOUT ACCEPTING ALL GENDERS,”SHREETI STATES.
Aakriti Pradhan, who fills in as activity chief at Antidote Nepal, meanwhile discusses the time she was experiencing childhood in Bagbazar, Kathmandu. “My folks were terrified to such an extent that I was not permitted to leave home after nightfall. I was not permitted to try and go for a companion’s birthday if the festival was at night,” she thinks back. “This may sound typical to numerous yet it really is segregation in an alternate structure.”
She grins when she specifies that the first occasion when she was permitted to travel was after she completed her SLC assessment. “My folks were attempting to secure me yet they were really encroaching on my entitlement to carry on with a typical life,” Aakriti adds.
In the interim, Prerana Lamichhane, who is considering BBIS at Little Angels’ College, says that she never felt victimized until her dad spent away two years back. “The manner in which society took a gander at my family got unique. Also, on the grounds that there was no male part in my family we confronted a frightening time in getting the desk work finished in the district office,” she specifies.
“We were in a real sense dealt with like persona non grata,” Lamichhane states.
Nonetheless, change needs in any case us ladies, says Palden Sherpa, an understudy of IEC College in Kathmandu. “Because of the mistreatment that ladies have looked for a long time a great deal of ladies feel they can’t do certain things since they are unfit,” she says, adding, “This attitude needs to change if ladies need to see genuine change.”
Sherpa makes reference to that ladies need to go out and do things that make a difference to them or are keen on regardless of what society says. “When we begin setting our own cutoff points at that point change will occur.”