Breaking gender stereotypes

KATHMANDU: Occasion was the International Women’s Day and women from different walks of life had gathered to share their success stories at Hotel Annapurna, Durbar Marg on March 8.

Child rights activist Indira Rana Magar, actress Gauri Malla, founder of Maiti Nepal Anuradha Koirala, ultra runner Mira Rai and mountaineer Shailee Basnet were some of those women who motivated the audience with their encouraging stories.

Giving example from her personal experience, Basnet pointed out

how society regards women as weaker beings — physically and mentally and how she was able to break the gender stereotypes.

“I am from a well educated family. My weight is 45 kg and I am around five feet tall. Before I stepped into mountaineering, I never carried even a sack of rice from shop to home. Like everyone else, I used to think, I was not strong physically and thus was unable to lift heavy weights,” Basnet shared at the event.

Then she entered mountaineering, conquered different summits, and returned home. She realised her physical strength while in the mountains. “When I carried the rice sack to home, my mother told me that mountaineering had made me strong,” she stated adding, “It’s not that we, women are weak, it’s our society that has made us think that we are weak. But that is not the truth — women are capable of doing everything.”

Rai, on other hand, urged women to seek for opportunities and expressed her willingness to show path to other women who want to follow in her direction.

And there was Abhaya and The Steam Injuns, to encourage women through their music. The band put forth an energetic performance where lead singer Abhaya Subba also talked about women empowerment through music. The band performed songs like Ho Yehinai Ho Mero Ghar, Timro Laagi and Looking for love.

Judy Oglethorpe, Chief of Party of Hariyo Ban Program, meanwhile talked about women’s role in natural resource management. She expressed, “Women are dependent on natural resources, but they don’t have control over decision making. If given chance, they can play an active role in managing resources. So, let’s not celebrate women’s day for one day but every day by involving women in decision making process.”

The event was organised by Hariyo Ban Program, WWF Nepal.