The glass ceiling might not be an impregnable barrier for urban women in Nepal, but for their rural counterparts, it still looms as a daunting challenge. This might have to do with a low level of literacy and the deeply entrenched patriarchal mindset. Especially since the 1990 movement and the political changes it brought about, considerable efforts have been made for the empowerment of women. Sadly, there has been precious little progress in addressing the genuine concerns of women, especially in the rural areas. Though women’s rights bodies have, time and again, raised their voice for equal treatment, their efforts have yet to reach down to the grassroots.
The Interim Constitution provides for the issuance of citizenship certificates in the name of mothers, guarantees 33 per cent representation of women in public posts and prohibits any form of discrimination against them. Though constitutional provisions provide legal protection of women’s rights, their empowerment cannot be ensured unless a change of attitude is brought about in society. Moreover, women’s rights groups and organisations in Nepal need to shift their focus to the rural areas, where a majority of women live, but they seem to be following the agendas, in some cases, of the women of Western countries blindly. In Nepal, there is an acute need to put into practice all legal provisions made for women’s uplift. All women’s agendas ought also to be tailored to the needs of Nepali women.