Home Youth Programme organized to discuss on Patriarchy and Feminism in Nepal (EmpowHER Diaries)

Programme organized to discuss on Patriarchy and Feminism in Nepal (EmpowHER Diaries)


Kathmandu, August 11, 2016: A discussion programme has recently been organized in the town to discuss on the latest development of feminism in Nepal and the diminishing patriarchal system.

In the programme organized by Ujyalo Foundation, Kripa Basnyat, Executive Director at Hamro Chahana Nepal, as the special guest in the programme, talked about the recent development of Feminism in Nepal.

Basnyat shared the basic traits considered in our society like, men being considered superior to women and how the traditional practices like women vs women has been helping to maintain the status quo in Nepali society.

As part of the day-long session, Basnyat engaged the cohort of 16 ladies of EmpowHER in a game of tiger and goats, to relate it to our society, and gave a message that if our social structure is not that strong, the external factors can imbibe us.

The session saw a lively discussion on patriarchy, and how it started with the evolution, as female members in the family were assigned with the task of looking after the home and the kids, while males had to go to earn for the family.

“This way, the gender of a person started to play a role in the division of labour,” she shared on how the current system evolved and came into this shape.

“Often, works done by women are given less importance and less space, and their capacity is questioned oftentimes. But, the situation is changing gradually,” she said, giving reference to the new constitution of Nepal, which has recognized the unpaid workers, usually the women involved in less productive works.

Basnyat also shared on why women support patriarchy. “Property rights, availability of resources, children inheriting the father’s family name, among others, are the main reasons for the system continuing in our society,” she shared.

Giving true picture of corporate structure in Nepal, and the condition of women-centered organizations, she expressed dissatisfaction to see only the male members being assigned to the most of the senior positions of the board of directors, and inclusion of women in such organizations only for the sake of having them on the board.

The programme had various games in between the sessions to make them more engaging for the participants. Power-play, one of them, in which the participants were divided into judiciaries, Politicians, businesspersons and commoners, tried to give the real structure of our society and showed how few people are controlling most of the resources available in our society.

Basnyat also discussed the social trend/culture so far, how these support patriarchy and gave the examples of women rising, with reference to the British PM Theresa May and US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. “But in most of the cases, women have reached power only because of their fathers and husbands, including our own president Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi,” she mentioned. She also discussed about the discriminations that are happening in our society on the basis of caste, gender, class, physical ability, age, education, health condition, sexuality, geographical location among other factors.

Mentioning that the gender equality in our society is totally lacking, she also discussed the role of reservations and affirmative actions to take those underprivileged and discriminated ones ahead. “Equity and inclusion are very necessary factors, and need to be duly considered until the women in our society reach the same level as males,” Basnyat added.

Later, the cohort was divided into 3 groups and made to perform plays, giving a message on how patriarchy is playing a role and what can be done to overcome the problems. Surprisingly, they portrayed the other picture of our society and gave a message on how males are harmed instead, by the discriminatory culture persisting in our society, and why the society needs to treat both the genders equally.

The session concluded with a message that proper measures and solutions should be in place to overcome the problems persisting on our society, and for the same, we should contribute from our own side.

The programme was organized as part of the 14-weeks long training session of EmpowHER. Started in the year 2015 with a belief that empowered women will empower society as a whole, the three-month long programme provides a platform for women to exude their ideas, exercise leadership, and contribute as an effective member to the community. EmpowHER seeks to ensure that the aspiring women leaders will be exposed to innovative learning through various trainings in leadership, networking, mentorship, and designing and implementing projects that help other marginalized women ultimately create a society where all the women are empowered.

Photo Courtesy: Ujyalo Foundation

By Basanta Kumar Dhakal