Women Mobilizing for Transition in Nepal

Women in Peace Building Process in Nepal and
quest for Proportional Representation
Presentation for University of Calcutta on
Women’s Political Empowerment: Quotas or not?
Feb, 17-18, 2011
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
 Background…
 Women’s involvement during Nepal’s Conflict Period (1996-2006)
 Women’s involvement in the People’s Movement (2006)
 Women’s involvement in Overturning fudal monarchy and mobilizing for the Constituent
Assembly for equal and meaningful participation at all levels
 Demand for proportional representation and minimum 33% participation as strategy
 Now…
 Women advocating for change, using UN Security Council Resolution 1325
 Some current advocacy for equal representation through peace building initiatives by
women in Nepal
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
The Context….
 Nepal is a diverse country with different
 ethnic minorities,
 caste groups,
 religious communities,
 linguistic traditions
All spread across a small but geographically
varied landscape (mountains, hilly region and plains/terai)
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
Nepal’s Ten Year Conflict Had Deep Roots…
 240 years of feudal monarchy / strong petriarchy
 Institutionalised /systemic social exclusion and marginalization
 Many people sacrificed their lives, and women were highly affected as survivors & victims
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
During the Conflict Period, There Were Also
Some Positive Changes for Women…
 During the conflict period, women assumed new non traditional roles, for example...
 Household decision making;
 Changed Economic role/ Borrowing money;
 Direct interaction with market/Selling family produce, and engaging in other
types of wage labour;
Organizing & participating in religious ceremonies;
Infrastructure / construction/ Fixing their houses;
Ploughing the land;
Ownership and transaction of land;
Community leadership and 20% mandatory at local governance;
Leadership in the Maoist movement;
Jobs in the national army
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
Important Social Impacts Resulted…
 The changes during the conflict resulted in
 Challenge to patriarchal traditions and attitudes towards women
 A greater degree of respect by the male relatives
 Increased self-confidence, a sense of empowerment and of self-reliance
 The development of a reservation/quota system to increase the number of
women at the policy level
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
Yet, These Years Also Brought Devastation to Women’s Lives…
 Assumed overwhelming burdens for their families and communities
 Experienced displacement and forced migration, as entire families were
uprooted from their homes
 Lowered economic conditions
 Lost/Missing family members
 Widows had to wait at least 12 years to
legally own land/ enjoy right to family property
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
Devastating Effects of the Conflict (Cont.)
 Also, during the conflict women were affected by:
 Increased family pressures and tension
 Increasingly subjected to domestic violence and rape
 Suffered from depression due the traumas related to violence
 Increased insecurity--living in fear of being kidnapped, tortured, raped or beaten
 Limited Access to medicines and health care
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
In the People’s Movement 2006,
Women Also Mobilized for Change…
 After the conflict, historically excluded groups remained impoverished
 They became vocal, questioning socio-economic inequalities
 Mobilizing within the movement, women were able to successfully advocate for 33% participation in
the new parliamentary structures
 Despite of these efforts, still women’s voice still remain marginalized in the peace building process
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
Women Mobilization for the Constituent
Assembly (CA)
 Women took on a leading role…
 To overturn the feudal monarchy that lasted 240 years
 Organizing rallies to push for rights to equal participation
 Building alliances for democracy, nationally and locally
 Raising our voices to call for the implementation of a reservation system and for
women's rights to be respected
 Conducting trainings and raising the public’s awareness about the CA
 Results of these efforts:
 191 women were elected to the CA;
 Marginalized women’s concerns are now
receiving more attention
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
Women Using UNSCR 1325 as a tool
 First, what is UNSCR 1325?
 A binding international law, adopted in 2000 by the UN Security Council
 It commits governments—including that of Nepal—to:
 Increase representation of women at all decision-making levels
 Take special measures to protect women and girls from gender based violence and other forms
of violence in situations of armed conflict.
 Incorporate a gender perspective into UN operations
 Incorporate a gender perspective into post-conflict
processes (including
processes of disarmament,
resettlement, reintegration,
reconstruction, reparation)
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
Women’s Peacebuilding Efforts in Nepal
 Women activists are:
 Using theatre & illustrated cartoons to outreach across Nepal on SCR 1325
 Organizing local women’s peace committees across the country
 Mobilizing for our participation in the CA and local peace committees, voicing concerns
about social inclusion (by using principles contained in UNSCR 1325)
 Supporting Nepal’s Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction to prepare a National Action
Plan on the implementation of UNSCR 1325
 Forming a number of alliances to work together
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
Women’s Peacebuilding Efforts (Cont.)
 Napali women have learned together as groups, alliances and networks for example....
 Women's Alliance for Peace, Power, Democracy and Constituent Assembly WAPPDCA.
 Shanti Malika are the examples of alliance of Women’s NGOs working for the implementation
of UN SCR 1325, in partnership with UN agencies and others...
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
Women’s Peacebuilding Efforts (Cont.)
 Together, we are calling for:
 Equal representation of women at all government levels
and in all
committees related to conflict prevention and
 At least 33% of women members in the Local Peace
Committees (This must be required in Terms of Reference,
as currently women remain marginalized, being allocated less
than 10% of the seats)
 An end to ongoing impunity for perpetrators of violence against women, with particular respect
to those from marginalized castes and ethnicities.
 Women’s human rights to be addressed by the Constitutional Assembly, electoral system, police
and judiciary
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
Women’s Recommendations for
Transition in Nepal
 Translation of UN SCR 1325 into local languages & wide dissemination,
proper implementation of NAP
 Meaningful participation in ongoing peace process and negotiations
 Equal involvement of women in the design and proceedings of the Truth
and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
 Special women’s hearings during the TRC
 Adoption of gender specific models of reparations
 Recognition of women candidates for UN posts, envoys, and ambassadors
 Gender and social inclusion sensitivity training for security forces of Nepal
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
Presented by Saloni Singh, Exe. Chair, DidiBahini
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