Participants in a debate have univocally called for prioritising women candidates in the upcoming local level elections scheduled for May 13.

The debate organised by Srijanshil Sanstha Nepal in coordination with Sancharika Samuha, Rupandehi chapter, saw encouraging number of female participants who demanded enabling environment where women could cast votes without any pressure and run for major posts.

On the occasion, Deputy Mayor of Butwal Sub-metropolitan City Gumadevi Acharya admitted that women representatives like her did not leave behind any stone unturned to fulfil their responsibilities at the local level. Acharya asserted that women candidates should not be fearful of not getting the desirable posts if they raised voice against unequal and unfair treatment. She was of the view that political parties should be inclusive.

Similarly, Rajendra Thapa, secretary of the Ministry of Law, Women, Children and Senior Citizens of Lumbini Provincial Government, urged women to increase their bargaining power in the parties.

"Political parties should reconsider the issue of women's participation in politics, while women should be bold enough to say that they will consider not voting for other male candidates if they are not given due responsibilities." He called for transparency in the nomination process in political parties.

Likewise, Sancharika Samuha's advisor Indira Aryal requested political leaders to provide opportunities to studious and struggling women since, she argued, there would be lesser chances for factionalism and vengeance if women were elected to leadership posts.

She asserted that women's meaningful participation in politics was curtailed by reservation system and demanded implementation of the constitutional system, which ensures equal rights for women.

Likewise, Blue Diamond Society's representative Aanik Rana stressed the need to create environment where sexual minorities' identity and existence are recognised.

Also speaking at the programme, CPN-Maoist Centre Rupandehi Chairperson Nirmal GC shared that his party had formulated policy for ensuring at least 35 per cent women's participation in the party and pledged to contribute to increasing women's participation in the coming days.

Nepali Congress district Treasurer Hari Aryal said that women's participation in leadership was increasing lately and viewed that women having strong willpower, readiness and capacity should get the opportunities.

Also, voicing her opinion in the debate, CPN (Unified Socialist) under-secretary Sarita Shreesh argued that women's status was only limited to asking for women's rights.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 11, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.