The role of women was vital in the restoration of democracy in 1991. After the restoration of democracy in 1991, participation of women in politics has been growing. The Nepal government has ratified more than 23 international conventions, including CEDAW and ICCPR.
Nepal has a proportional representation system whereby some 33 per cent of CA members need to be women- the largest proportion of women parliamentarian in South Asia. After 2013 CA Elections, IPU has ranked Nepal at 38th for 30% of women candidates (177 out of 599) elected to the Parliament. Yet, women are not substantially represented in other sectors even though the scenario is slightly improved.
The UCPN (Maoist) party set an example for women’s participation with 40 per cent of women members of their share in the Interim Parliament. The three governments formed after the CA elections failed to achieve the 33 per cent figure and only 13 per cent of ministers in the three successive governments were women. The political parties are still mainly run by men. Similarly, the inability to nominate women calls into question the commitment of political parties to gender equality and inclusive proportional representation.
According to the census of 2011, 51.44 per cent of the total population is women while the literacy rate among the women is 57.4% (CBS 2011). Although women have had the right to vote and to stand for election since 1951, women’s voices have long been silenced in Nepal. Women have traditionally had little opportunity to participate actively in political life, with few or no women represented in the legislative, judiciary and executive bodies.
Several reasons may explain as first, women’s effective participation in decision‐making is hindered by a pervasive male domination inside political parties. Decisions in political parties continue to be made by a handful of senior and high‐caste male leaders, and women’s opportunities within the political parties are determined on the basis of their loyalty and kinship to particular leaders, rather than their capabilities and performance
Second, despite the existence of women’s wings in most political parties and also an Inter‐ Party Women’s Alliance, where women occasionally gather to discuss political issues, women politicians find it hard to raise issues of particular concern to women in the Constituent Assembly.
Third, limited education and literacy capacity, along with a lack of political experience and knowledge about the political system, further impede many female politicians from participating effectively in the political process.
A fourth issue that influences women’s roles and their ability to participate in politics is the perception that the increase in women’s representation was primarily a response to legal requirements, and not a result of the political parties’ determination to improve gender equality in political structures and decision‐making.
LINK : Terai Dalit Women- Violation of Political Rights- Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
PDF : Marginalization and Exclusion of Women: Ensuring an Inclusive process: Addressing Women’s Political and Electoral Participation (Summary of talking points- Phujraj Pokharel)
PDF : Women’s Political Participation and Influence in Post-Conflict Burundi and Nepal (PRIO Paper: 2010)
PDF : Marching Ahead: A Profile Book of Women CA Members (NDI: 2010)