Gender-based discrimination begins at home

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Although the contribution of women in various sectors of the society is increasing, their roles are not duly recognised. Women in Nepal make 63.7 percent contribution in agriculture whereas 36.3 percent work in non-agricultural fields. Tens of thousands of Nepali women are currently working in different countries across the world. But their contribution is not counted as service and women are still subjected to different forms of violence with domestic violence on top of the chart.

The situation of women has changed discernably in the developed countries where women work hand in hand with men but the situation most of the underdeveloped and developing countries is much less than satisfactory.

A recent international report revealed around 60 percent women participants from India and Rwanda totally or partially agreed that a woman should tolerate violence in order to keep her family together. Similarly, 43 percent agreed with the statement that there are times when a woman deserves to be beaten.

While answering to similar questions, over 60 percent of children interviewed in India for the report agreed that if resources are scarce it is better to educate a boy instead of a girl.

Though the report has noted a significant progress in people’s attitude towards women in Nepal, we are well aware of the practices where parents want a sacrifice from a daughter for the welfare of a son. This is what we call “discrimination begins at home”.

The sacrifices a family seeks from a woman have been increasing. Girls, especially in the rural communities, are still deprived of educational opportunities and nutritious food while new forms of discrimination continue to emerge. According to doctors, over 80 percent organ donors in Nepal are women whereas the same percent of men are the recipients. It is not because that fewer women suffer from kidney failure but the fact is that they are left to die slowly due to family ignorance for their treatment. Some medical doctors have said publicly that men want another wife instead of spending money for the sick one in many cases.

There is no dearth of legal instruments to ensure women’s socio-economic security. Nepal has already ratified the international convention like CEDAW and there are other laws formulated to ensure women’s rights. However, women continue to suffer and the gender-based discrimination has not come under the legal purview because the society psychologically prepares women for sacrifice.

Women’s right to parental property has not been effectively implemented. It is deplorable that about half a dozen women have lost their lives over property rights row in the past few months. The government authorities have failed to prosecute the guilty of such crimes and that the accused remain at large for years.

It is therefore important that the police, the judiciary and the executive of the state work in unison to address such problems. Similarly, such issues must be raised in the parliament and interactions and awareness campaigns should be launched at the grassroots for the girls’ education.


(Sharma, a retired govt official, is involved in an organisation that studies status of property

ownership of women in Nepal)

Date:-  2011-09-28

Writer:-Keshav Prasad Shrama





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