Kathmandu, February 20
Taking Nepal’s social media by storm is the ‘Red Tika Challenge’ wherein women are posting pictures of themselves, wearing red clothes, to stand in solidarity with widows.
The Facebook challenge to bring down the stigma associated with widows, who have to dress only in white after their husband’s death, has gained a lot of traction among young women in the last ten days.
With more than 60,000 youths taking up the challenge, Lily Thapa, the founder of Women for Human Rights, is overwhelmed by the response. “The colour red symbolises passion and life so our culture prohibits widows from wearing anything red. Women are forced to wear only white attire, which I believe takes a toll on their beauty. So, the main aim of this campaign is to change that mentality,” says Lily. Kicking off the challenge, Thapa herself shared her picture on Facebook in a red salwar kameez, asking people to join in, “If you are with me and with all single women (widows), please participate by wearing a red tika and share your picture with the hashtag #redtikachallenge.”
According to the latest census, six per cent of women in Nepal are widows.
Uma Thapa, communication officer of WHR, says “We’ve been facing a lot of discrimination in society. So this is the time to break those notions and pave the way for the younger generation to live free from these primitive rules,”
The campaign wants to drive home the message that the marital status of a woman should not decide which colour she can or cannot wear, emphasises Lily. “Colour is purely a woman’s choice. Society shouldn’t dictate it.”
A version of this article appears in print on February 21, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.