The 33 per cent representation of women in all state organs envisaged by the constitution has not been enforced in the Council of Ministers and the leadership of political parties, says the National Human Rights Commission. It adds that discrimination against women continues to exist in every sphere.

Similarly, the post of deputy speaker in the House of Representatives has been vacant for a long time. There is provision of electing a woman candidate for the post of speaker or deputy speaker of the HoR. "Though political participation of women is increasing, the situation is not satisfactory in the socio-economic sector. Financial dependence on men continues.

Women have suffered more as a result of harmful social practices, discrimination, exploitation, injustice and exclusion," said an annual report recently published the NHRC.

This has affected the political, economic, social, cultural and educational sectors and women have been victimised.

According to the NHRC, even the ill practices such as jhuma, deuki and chhaupadi continue to exit in Nepali society. Similarly, dowry, child marriage and marriage without consent are still prevalent and women are obliged to accept the allegation of witchcraft. Physical assault from the family members for not bringing dowry, setting ablaze, banishing from home and killings are also prevalent in one or the other form.

It warned that the incidents of domestic violence due to COVID-19 pandemic may increase.

There is a change in the forms and nature of discrimination and violence against women with the changes brought about by technology and development. "Cases of sex-selective abortion have increased and women continue becoming the victims of rape, sexual abuses and acid attacks," reads the report.

Women rights have been promoted through laws and policies, but practically gender-based violence is still rampant.

Women have face discrimination, exploitation, injustice and exclusion mainly due to ill social practices and patriarchal norms and values.

Women still do not enjoy their political, economic, social, cultural and educational rights as much as the men do.

"Women-friendly laws have been formulated, but have not been implemented effectively. Hence, the government and other stakeholders should focus on effective implementation of laws for true empowerment," the rights body suggested.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 20, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.