TOPICS: Shun gender violence

Nepal is strongly committed to ensuring non-discrimination and equality to women and girls under her constitution and international human rights framework.

Nepal’s constitutional and legal frameworks are more gender-friendly as a result of the many normative and legislative frameworks adopted to advance women’s right and gender equality.

Nepal is a signatory to 24 international human rights instruments, and now has legal frameworks largely supportive of women rights and gender equality.

For example, the Ministry of Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliament tabled the bill on amending some Nepali Acts to maintain gender equality and end gender-based violence on 6 August, 2014 proposing to amend further 32 gender discriminatory laws.

Laws and policies have improved women’s voice and representation in politics and governance. Gender has received increased attention in government plans.

Violence against women has been perceived as a major impediment to sustainable human development and to achieving gender equality.

Violence against women not only harms girls and women’s abilities to negotiate a better life for themselves but also impacts negatively on the health of the survivors.

Given this context, in 2014 Didi Bahini conducted women safety audits (WSAs) to assess the safety conditions of women in public places and evaluated how they feel about the places, identify measures to make the places safer and women-friendly.

Appropriate Participatory Rural Appraisal technique (PRA) was applied in the WSAs.

The PRA tools enabled participation of the stakeholders and facilitated everyone to walk together to reflect, explore, identify and address issues related to women safety.

The WSAs revealed that in the absence of safety and security measures mainly in public places women and girls encounter barriers to full enjoyment of their rights including their rights to education.

Due to violence against women and girls on their way to school and even within the school girls’ education comes at the price of their safety.

The values of equality, respect and zero tolerance against violence against women and girls that are instilled at an early age will go a long way in transforming sexist attitude and behaviours towards girls and women.

Just saying no to violence is not enough if girls and women are not empowered to reject violence and boys and men are not sensitized to shun violence.