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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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Numbers often tell a story, but when it comes to gender issues, data is often missing or misunderstood. Where gender data does exist, and it is presented effectively to paint a vivid picture of gaps and progress, it can be an important driver of development projects and initiatives for social change. To encourage and expand the use of data in reporting gender stories and accomplishments, 25 participants from eight countries in Asia-Pacific took part in a Workshop on communicating gender data: promoting better use and delivering impactful messages. Jointly organized by UN Women’s Gender Statistics team and the Statistical Office of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
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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.