The government has started a two-month assessment programme to monitor the improvement in the status of Nepali women. Its gender assessment and budget audit programme will try to determine the impact of the existing policies of three years on women’s overall status, thus helping the planners to come up with effective ways of ensuring gender equity. The programme applies to six DDCs — in Kailali, Banke, Bardiya, Myagdi, Sindhupalchok and Siraha.
The programme aims to analyse, inter alia, the effects of public policy on legislation, regulations, taxation and social status of women. No doubt, Nepali women are becoming increasingly aware of the need to be treated at par with their male counterparts. Still, most women, aware or otherwise, have not been able to assert their rights, despite the constitutional decree stressing equality between the sexes. They are more often than not the victims of gender bias and discrimination, at home and outside. They routinely find themselves excluded from the process of making key decisions for their families, or from exercising any degree of independence in other areas.
However, the main problem with most of such impact studies is that they are for the most part done because donors are willing to pick up the tab. Countless such studies have been gathering dust in different government and private offices. The project in question will look into a number of aspects like institutional practices, laws and regulations, cultures, and to what extent the target groups have benefitted. But our planners and implementors of those plans, policies and programmers have been tardy to learn from the mistakes. This is so because they cannot only get away with it but ironically stand to gain from it. Ultimately, the question of women’s uplift, like almost any other major issues, comes round to one of good governance.