Minister of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens Julie Kumari Mahato has said women's full and effective participation in public life and decision-making process underpins Nepal's development aspirations to create an inclusive, just, and equitable society.

Addressing the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women through a pre-recorded video this morning, Minister Mahato underscored the structural barriers and challenges hindering women's effective participation in public life. She called for enhanced level of international support and cooperation towards achieving gender-related SDGs by 2030.

She highlighted the major achievements of Nepal in the field of gender equality and women empowerment.

"Equal lineage and property rights, safe motherhood and reproductive health rights, and women's right to participate in all state structures have been ensured in the constitution based on the principle of proportional representation," she stated, according to New Yorkbased Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations.

Reiterating Nepal's zero-tolerance policy on gender-based violence, she stated that recently enacted National Gender Equality Policy 2021, Acid and Other Lethal Chemical Substances (Regulation) Ordinance, and the Ordinance to Amend the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code are expected to be instrumental in establishing gender-friendly governance at all levels.

Mahato underlined the significant increase in the representation of women in elected posts at the federal, provincial, and local levels and expressed Nepal's commitment to ensure gender equality and women empowerment, thereby eliminating all forms of discrimination against women. The 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women is being held from 15 to 26 March 2021 under the theme of 'Women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life'.

The Nepali delegation to the session led by Minister Mahato includes the member of National Assembly Dr Bimala Rai Paudyal, Secretary at the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens Yam Kumari Khatiwada, Nepal's Permanent Representative to the UN Amrit Bahadur Rai, gender expert Bandana Rana, and senior government officials.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 25, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.