Gender Inequality in Nepal:Are Women Still Being Held Back? – Aadhyashri Poudyal, Runner Up, Falgun, 2074

Gender inequality is a burning issue in our society today due to the persistent gap in terms of access to opportunities between the men and women.It is the idea or situation that women and men are not equal.While gender equality is a right that every human being is granted with regardless of their culture, race, religion or sexuality.In the world of the 21st century where every minute new invention are invented and the world is getting more and more scientific, most of the people still have a stereotypical thinking regarding the role of women in the society.These stereotypical thinking has resulted in a huge gender gap between male and female in the society.

Stereotypically, women are the ones who stay home and cook and clean while the men are away at their jobs earning for the family.The same tradition is being followed in our Nepalese society from the past till the present day. Nepalese society till date has not tasted the actual taste of gender equality, not even the developed cities or the urban areas so we can see that its a long way for the rural area to get its taste.When we talk about gender inequality in Nepal the first thing that clicks in our mind is the culture of preventing daughters from attending schools or we can say getting education. Well, this is what people generally think about when this topic pops up but I think about the present constitution of Nepal formed in 2015.Has our constitution been able to maintain the gender equality that the society talks about?Most of them would answer yes it has.Well, you ask me the same question my answer is no it has failed to reduce the gender inequality in order to maintain gender equality.

The bitter truth is that in regards to the woman our constitution previously had denied the ability for women to pass the citizenship onto their children while men have no barriers to do so.Even though it has now brought the new rule to pass the citizenship in the name of the mother it has not been as effective.In the same way, the foreign spouse of a Nepali man can get a citizenship of Nepal but the same provision is not provided to the foreign spouse of a Nepali woman.Thus, the rule of the country which binds the citizen itself is polluted with the act of gender discrimination.

Women cover more than half of Nepal’s population but it came as a shocker to know that only 26% of them are involved in the paid job.Even though they are involved in the paid job it mostly includes low skill occupations craft work and skill work because of their low level of literacy and only a few years of schooling.The stereotypical culture and norms of the families and society have shaped women’s participation in the labor market.While the men are involved in the jobs like technician and engineers which require more education than the primary level education and special skills.In today’s Nepal, there is a trend where most of the people are leaving Nepal and going to the Gulf countries in the search of employment which includes only 12% of women out of the total population.Their limited mobility to work abroad is determined by the historic and patriarchal thoughts and ideas of the society that women should remain in the household and it suits them.Although the participation of women in the workforce is low due to the culture and norms more women are now entering the workforce and competing for head to head with the men.

Gender is one of the most important factors which determines the school participation among the rural youth in our country.The young girls in our country, especially in the rural areas, are more likely to obtain fewer years of schooling rather than the boys because of parent’s view their children’s preparation for their adult marital roles based on the gender.As the tradition of girls leaving their house after marriage still prevails.High priority is given to boy’s education because the girls have very little time to complete their schoolwork in order to complete their household works.The families in our society are more likely to enroll the male child in a private school and a female child in public school.Although girls who enter school progress at an equal rate with boys through the grades, there are less girls enrolled in school compared to boys. Despite the performances, the girls are harassed by the male teachers and peers in their school.

We all know that bringing change in the society starts with the families of the society itself.But here the family which should act as a step in bringing the change are polluted with inequalities.Women’s autonomy in household decision-making is less than men’s.They are not allowed to make a decision, suggest or give their views regarding the specific topic in the family.Thus, contribution in family decision creates more perceived between men and women as equal partners.

The topic gender inequality is not only limited to labor, education but also the violence the women of Nepal are facing today.Sexual violence has been increasing in Nepal especially in the rural areas.A recent incident that I would like to discuss about, An eight-year-old girl was gang-raped in one of the districts of our country.When is it that the parents of a daughter can sleep peacefully knowing that their daughter is safe even though she is out in the night time.Not only the night time even the sunlight isn’t that safe for the females.Not only rape but women violence is more prevalent in our societies within the families. Men who are entitled as the head of the house often spend their earnings in alcohol and come home drunk and beat their wives and their children too.Not only the drunk and illiterate ones but the men who are highly educated and have a reputation are also involved in the violence.Thus, it is a shame that even the educated are not aware.

I think most of us at some point of our life may have faced such type of inequality so,in order to reduce it some measures can be taken from our side. First of all, we the women must know our rights and should be able to voice the one who try to violate them.We must try to fight the gender stereotypes that is still prevailing in our society by spreading awareness about the importance of gender equality.As family is one of the first step towards bringing the change in the society.Gender equality should be promoted in our homes. In this era of social media,it can be great help for promoting gender equality as it would make great impact on today’s youths.Thus,small steps can make great differences.

At last, the problem like gender inequality are still deep-rooted in our society but, it is the responsibility of each and every individual to uproot them.Uprooting these problems from our society will actually develop it along with giving the people the taste of freedom and equality.

Aadhyashri Poudyal Receiving her certificate

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