March 22, 2018, 11:46 am IST
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Nepali women still do not have equal status

Nepali women still do not have equal status

 Mar 13, 2018

Between October 2015 and June 2016, Nepal received its first women in powerful positions — the President, the Speaker of Parliament, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; however, the women in the country still do not have equal status.

The new constitution of Nepal has reserved 33 per cent seats for women in federal and provincial parliaments. The results of local elections also brought a wave of women leadership in politics and governance, electing over 14,000 women leaders throughout the country. 

However, Nepali women largely still do not have equal status as their male counterparts. There is still a double standard while claiming citizenship by birth through mothers versus it being done through fathers. Disparities among Nepali women in health and education outcomes further paint a gloomy picture.

According to a special report by Pratik Chhetri and Neha Malla in The Himalayan Times, the adult female literacy rate in Nepal is just 49 per cent while that for Nepali men is 72 per cent. About 28 per cent of Nepali women are reported to have faced sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The maternal mortality rate (MMR) of Nepali women is 258 per 100,000 live births—quite high compared to neighbouring India’s 174. Abortion was legalised in 2002, and yet the most recent study in Nepal found out that nearly 60 per cent of all abortions that occurred were clandestine, thereby increasing risks to women’s mortality and morbidity.

These are clear indications for the need of great deal of progress in reducing gender-based disparities. Overall, the 2016 Global Gender Inequality Index (GII) list produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ranks Nepal 144th among 188 countries reported.

"We believe that the answer to these issues lie in the 2014 Nepal Human Development Report published by the government of Nepal and the UNDP. The report used the Human Development Index (HDI) values to represent the state of human development in various districts, and other geographically distinguished regions of Nepal.", the special report said. (UNI)

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