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Despite increases in the number of women at the highest levels of political power, widespread gender inequalities persist, according to the 2021 edition of the IPU–UN Women “Map of women in politics”. The data shows all-time highs for the number of countries with women Heads of State and/or Heads of Government, as well as for the global share of women ministers.
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Amid a dizzying array of dialects and attire reflecting Nepal’s rich regional and ethnic diversity, over 700 women local government leaders and representatives of District Coordination Committees from across the country gathered at City Hall in Kathmandu on 30 May (Jestha 16 in the Nepali calendar). On this day in 2006, the current President of Nepal, Bidhya Devi Bhandari, then a lawmaker, presented a resolution before the House of Representatives demanding at least 33 per cent representation of women in all the state mechanisms. The proposal was endorsed that same day. To mark this important milestone in Nepali history, the Cabinet decided in May 2019 to celebrate Jestha 16 as National Women’s Rights Day.
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With few female candidates and poorly financed campaigns, observers wait and watch to see if quotas will be enough to maintain the 33 per cent of women’s representation achieved in Nepal’s previous Constituent Assembly.