Friday, 19th September 2014

Int’l Women’s Day: Discrimination against women still persists


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A wife of a rights activist says her husband advocates for equal rights for women in public but treats herself like a slave, and asks where is women's right?  

She said with an innocent face although incidents of physical violence against women have been slackened perhaps because of the fear that people will know it while beating up, but mental violence against women has not come down.

Not only the wives of rights workers, but there are examples of some well known males in the society of neglecting, suppressing, or giving mental tension of any form to women.

Spokesperson of the National Women's Commission (NWC) Mohana Ansari said discrimination against women will not be reduced and there is no possibility of women's empowerment unless they are themselves capable, adding women's participation should be compulsory   in policy making level of the state and then only women rights will be guaranteed.

"Women have now increased awareness as compared to the past and they have started filing petitions with the realisation that violence against them is crime", she said and pointed out that still now awareness should come in 17 percent women of town areas and 82 percent of the rural areas.

Women's rights activist Sharmila Karki said discrimination will come down against women after their rights are guaranteed legally and added that 33 per cent participation of women is compulsory in all bodies of the state and that they will be empowered if their 50 percent participation is guaranteed in local bodies.

Karki says women-friendly economic and political arrangement is not possible if there are no women in decision making level and development as per women's wishes is not possible without their participation. She said International Women's Day helps us in making accountable internationally and whatever laws are there, they should be put into practice and we should celebrate the day for this purpose as well.

The first Constituent Assembly of Nepal had 33 percent women's participation but in the second CA, only 30 percent women's participation exists, which cannot be regarded satisfactory.  Nepali Congress Central Member Kamala Pant said the weaker presence of women in law making level is tantamount to weak women.

Tendency has been increased of daughters being given education as compared the past and women's participation in government and non-government sector is positive, she says, but adds women's development is impossible unless women-friendly environment is created in decision making level.

Leader Pant said when we talk about women's movement; no due honor given to honest women who are committed to this movement, adding there is a need of moving ahead by emulating the inspirational roles of the avant garde women.

CPN- Maoist Central Member Sarala Regmi is of the view that achievement of women's movement cannot be institutionalized unless women reach decision making level with respectable participation and unless they get equal rights in parental property.  

International Women's Day is also celebrated in Nepal every year.  There are many laws in Nepal for ending the discrimination against women, but they have not been implemented and though a holiday is given on the day by the government, discrimination has not ended as expected.

This year the national slogan for Women's Day is- "Let's assemble for women's leadership from home to Constituent Assembly" and internationally, the slogan is- 'Equality for women, progress for all' and the 104th International Women's Day- 2014 is observed simultaneously all over the world.

When we see the Nepalese women's movement of the past six years, we see that rights of voting, and becoming candidate and being elected has been attained, but voices have been raised for their equal and meaningful participation in all state mechanism which has not been ensured  so far.

Although the Interim Constitution of Nepal- 2063 BS, various legal and policy arrangements, and international protocols have made remarkable initiatives for changes on the condition of Nepali women, they have been limited to paper work.

The International Women's Day in fact originated after the military suppression of working women in America and Europe and following the social turmoil brought about by the suppression and the industrial revolution in 19th century.

Women had protested in New York of USA on March 8, 1859, citing inhumane treatment of women by engaging them in work for 12 hours and giving less wages to the workers in a garment factory.  Many women were arrested in the police interference in the protest and many were injured.

Likewise, on March 8, 1908, thirty thousand women took out a rally against the military suppression on women and for voting rights and an end to child labour.

German woman Clara Jetkin had in 1910, proposed in the second international conference of working women held in Copenhagen to celebrate the day as a festival all over the world on the very day. Agreeing to the proposal, women in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland    started to celebrate the day on March 19 demanding end of the discrimination against women and human rights to work in public sectors and voting rights and right to be trained.

Started to be celebrated on March 19 initially, the day was shifted to March 8 in 1913 and is being celebrated as the International Women's Day since then.

The day is still celebrated by women in solidarity with the belief that progressive change of society is not possible unless there is women's overall development as they constitute half of the world's population. RSS (RSS Feature Service) Translated by Tirtha Bhattarai


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