Leadership and ParticipationUN Women plays an important role in promoting women’s equal participation and leadership in Nepal’s nascent democracy.
- Striving to achieve gender equality in democratic governance, peace and nation-building processes;
- Working to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment by enhancing the capacity concerned stakeholders including Parliamentarians;
- Enhancing women’s participation in the electoral processes; and
- Strongly advocating for a gender sensitive constitution.
Women’s economic participation in Nepal is largely confined to agriculture and the informal sector, both of which are underpaid – making them vulnerable. Women contribute to as much as 50 percent of the workforce in Nepal and comprises of 10-15% of total migrant population of Nepal seeking work abroad other than in India with significant contribution to Nepal’s economy through the remittances. However, women in Nepal are not recognised as active contributors to the economy. Many women work in Nepal’s informal sector which affords them little legal protection under labour laws.
Inhuman working conditions, lack of inheritance and ownership rights, low wages, very little protection and social security fro women are major areas of concern for UN Women in Nepal.
UN Women’s Approachs
- Upholding women’s dignity, rights and self confidence through policy reforms and strengthened legal mechanisms.
- Ensuring women’s access to productive assets — land, property, credit, and modern avenues of knowledge and information.
- Providing access to decent work environment and sustainable livelihood opportunities including the social protection floor.
- Protecting and promoting the rights of women migrant workers by enhancing of the Government, civil society and the media for effective implementation of the Foreign Employment Act, 2007 and Regulation 2008.
- Working with the Government and the network of homebased worker to develop policies to promote and protect the Rights of Home Based Workers.
- Working with the “right holders” and supporting the establishment and expansion of women migrant workers organization in various districts and empowering them to claim rights and entitlements.
From a Worker to an Owner: Parbati Thapa Magar, a Returnee Migrant Worker In the past:
7 long years of hardship, tireless work and sacrifice as a migrant worker in Singapore. Had to endure long working hours; low wages; inhuman working conditions; loneliness and home-sickness
Is back at her home in Nepal. Owns land in her own name. Using knowledge received from training on enterprise development organized by ‘Pourakhi’ a UN Women partner NGO in Nepal, Parbati now runs her own poultry farming business. The training given to Parbati was part of a larger programme by UN Women in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor and Transport Management, Department of Foreign Employment and Foreign Employment Promotion Board. Parbati is proud to say, “I feel I have graduated from a worker to an owner of a business. I look forward to employing others as well.”
Violence against WomenCombating trafficking in women and girls, reducing incidents of violence against women, preventing exploitation of women and girls in the country, and enhancing the capacity of law enforcers and implementers to ascertain access to justice to the survivors of violence are UN Women’s primary goals in combating violence against women in Nepal.
Initiatives to reduce violence against women:
- Setting up of national and regional networks.
- Working with faith-based organizations, and with men-folk as change agents.
- Enhancing capacity of Government officials.
- Facilitating actions of civil society actors to ensure that survivors get timely access to justice.
- Raising awareness through media (landmark campaigns like Peace Media Network and The White Ribbon Campaign).
- Sensitizing judiciary on gender and gender based violence issues.
- Framing guidelines for “in-camera hearing” adopted by the Supreme Court of Nepal.
Prevention of Trafficking in Nepal
Human trafficking is a huge concern in Nepal. According to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons (UNODC 2009) in 2006, 66 percent of trafficking victims were women out of which 13 percent were minor girls. The report also revealed that 80 percent of all trafficking cases are related to sexual exploitation. India is one of the main destinations. Trafficking of women and girls is carried out on a large scale for the purpose of:
- Sexual exploitation
- Forced prostitution
- Involuntary domestic servitude
- Exploited labour in the agricultural and industrial sector
UN Women’s strategy:
Strengthening cooperation with national and international NGOs to implement programme’s for preventing and addressing issues related to trafficking and unsafe migration.
Women, Peace and Security
UN Women works with women affected by conflict and is deeply concerned about the fact that women suffer the most in times of war and conflict.
UN Women works with key Government agencies, civil society, media and other stakeholders to tackle issues faced by women and girls during and after conflicts.
UN Women understands the crucial role of Nepalese women in the ongoing peace process as peacekeepers, peace builders and negotiators. It also strongly advocates the needs to address specifics of gender in the development of Transitional Justice (TJ) mechanisms.
- Facilitated in Nepal’s adoption of a National Action Plan on United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1325 and 1820, one of the first of their kind to make room for women in and during peace negotiations,
- Works with women’s groups to advocate for their equal representation peace and political process.
- Enhances capacity of the Nepalese Army and Government authorities to integrate gender perspectives in conflict prevention, peace building and security operations.
- Supports interventions for promotion of gender sensitive transitional justice mechanisms and increasing women’s access to justice.
- Conducts mass media activation to generate awareness on the impact of conflict on women and their role in peacemaking initiatives.
Ready to Help Others: Sabitri Khadka, Baglung (Nepal)
In the past: In 2002, Sabithri’s house was surrounded by Maoists and torn down mercilessly; and her father was brutally murdered.
Currently: Attended a training of Trainers (ToT) conducted by the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), supported by UNIFEM (now UN Women) in Nepal. This has made her confident in her rightful cause to fight for justice. Today, she is in a position to help others who have suffered at the hands of violators and culprits. Through her newfound identity, Sabitri assists other victims and families in understanding the relief process and availing compensations.