Women groups press for gender-sensitive statute

KATHMANDU: As the deadline for promulgating the new constitution inches closer, women's groups are increasingly lobbying for provisions that would ensure their status in the country. Women lobby groups demand that the new constitution ensure their social, political, economic and cultural rights.

Dr Bhimarjun Acharya, advocate on constitutional law, said the new constitution should be gender-sensitive where there is no place for discrimination against women.

"The constitution should ensure rights to fight discriminatory social norms, values, prejudice and traditional beliefs against women," Acharya stressed. He was addressing an interaction organised by Sancharika Samuha here today.

He said that steps have been taken to ameliorate the situation of women in Nepal through the Interim Constitution 2007, which he said has ensured that no discrimination of any kind shall be made against women.

According to the Interim Constitution, every woman shall have the right to reproductive health. It states that no women shall be subjected to physical, mental or any other forms of violence and such act shall be punishable by law. It further states that the constitution has guaranteed sons and daughters equal rights to ancestral property.

Acharya said women should have access to natural resources and equitable access to state power as well. He also suggested that the women be provided an opportunity for education, health, employment and social security. "The constitution should also provide same range of wages and equal opportunity for employment,” he added.

Shanti Basnet Adhikari, Constituent Assembly (CA) member, said the task ahead is challenging but assured that women caucus is working for ensuring legal, fundamental, political, economical and social rights of women in the new statute.

Adhikari added that they are working for making the National Women Commission more powerful and resourceful.

Thama Maya Thapa, CA member, said they are working for the proportional representation of women in all state mechanism.