Gender Inequality in Nepal

In general, gender inequality refers to disparities and inequalities between men and women. There are unequal treatment and opportunities due to perceived difference based solely on issues of gender. It is a major barrier for the overall development of the country as gender is a determinant for the basis of discrimination in various spheres such as health, education, political representation and labor markets.

Bodily difference – a major blight leading to discrimination and domestic violence

Bodily difference is only regarded as a major factor of discrimination being irrespective to the skill, ability, labor and creativity, so it is an inhuman behavior that has been continuing in the Third World Countries like Nepal for a long time. Although Nepal is modernizing and gender roles are changing somehow however it has been limited in the urban areas. The traditionally patriarchal society, economically vulnerable condition of women, poverty and lack of education are creating systematic barriers for gender inequality.

Due to gender inequality women are treated as a second class citizen. The condition in the village areas is very poor; the glimpses are seen in the cities too. Domestic violence and bad customs like Chhaupadi Pratha, Dowry system, Deuki Pratha etc. are making the role of women even miserable. Domestic violence including physical and psychological torture is done especially by the male members of the family. It is done to establish and exert power and control over wife by husband. Bad customs only victimize girls as they cannot counter it. Especially in the poor families the girls are noticed to leave their studies and when they tread their foot in puberty. The major cause is the lack of love, care and dignity given to daughters which is yielded to son. They don’t find their home even in their “own” home. They are lured by brokers for human trafficking inside and outside the country. Smugglers allure poor and innocent girls in different ways such as providing a good job, delicious food, nice clothes, travelling beautiful cities or sending them for foreign employment. Knowingly or unknowingly they find themselves in the illegal world of sex. In the past, girl trafficking was limited only to India but it has extended its network even to gulf countries, Korea, China and Africa. They become a prey of brokers as they are weak socially and economically. The viscous circle of poverty and lack of awareness lead by it forces them to remain in the same weak status till their life. Prostitution kills girls physically, socially and psychologically. It not only ruins their career, it destroys their off springs too. Moreover some girls are found to be indulged in drug addition, theft and smuggling.

Economic dependence of women have to stop

As the country is economically lagging behind in development, its impact is seen in the field of women. The recent constitution and other prevailing laws of Nepal guarantee the rights of women but its implementation is a very far-cry. In fact women are neither socially weak nor mentally vulnerable. They are not less capable than male. Their role and contribution cannot be underestimated. Only what they need is the economic empowerment that can create a competitive platform for them to live a better life in the society. The life skill trainings along with business support programs can assist them to adjust. Economic dependency creates the obstacle so they should be empowered economically so that they can manage challenging situations. Gender equality is only possible if women are made economically able. The government of Nepal is trying its best from its side however the result is quite low. It has remained in the level of formalities only. If NGOs and other donor agencies keep an eye on it effectively, the situation of desperate girls and women could be improved a lot. The life skill trainings related with tailoring, weaving and knitting, beauty parlor, art and craft, handicraft etc. could help to start a better life for them so that they don’t be a part of negativism.

Ratna Prasad Shrestha

CEO at Human rights and rural development society, Nepal