WOMEN'S RIGHTS

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BACKGROUND

Since the beginning of what we call civilization when men's dominance over women was firmly established, until the present day, our history has been marred with the oppression of and brutality to women. Nepal Green Party deplores this system of male domination, known as patriarchy, in all its forms, both subtle and overt — from oppression, inequality, and discrimination to all forms of violence against women and girls including rape, trafficking, forced sex which is also rape, slavery, prostitution and violence against women within marriage and relationships and in all institutions. The change the world is crying for cannot occur unless women's voices are heard. Nepal's democracy cannot work without equality for women, which provides equal participation and representation in decision-making.

The status of women in Nepal remains very poor in terms of health, education, income, decision-making, and access to policymaking. Patriarchal practices, which control these women's lives, are reinforced by the legal system. Women face systematic discrimination, particularly in rural areas. Literacy rates are substantially lower than men's, and women work longer hours. Violence against women is still common, and there are not enough women in professions. Women’s representation has been ensured in the constituent assembly, but women’s equal participation in all state mechanisms is far from ideal.

POLICY BRIEF 

                                                                       SOCIAL EQUALITY 

  • We call for all rights given to women by existing laws and the Constitution of Nepal to be effectively implemented. 

  • We call for more legislation and regulations to be draft to protect the rights and freedoms of all women.

  • We call for equal representation of women in all parliament and assemblies instead of the current 33%.

  • The National Women's Commission should actively investigate and prosecute sexual harassment complaints. Women who file complaints must not be persecuted and should be protected under federal and state law. We must enshrine in law the basic principle that women have the same rights as men, and promote gender equality and fairness in the workforce to ensure that women receive equal pay for jobs of equal worth.

  • We support the inclusion of an equal number of women and men in peace talks and negotiations, not only because these efforts directly affect their lives and those of their husbands, children and families, but also because when women are involved, the negotiations are more successful.

Reproductive Rights

  • Women's rights must be protected and expanded to guarantee each woman's right as a full participant in society, free from sexual harassment, job discrimination or interference in the intensely personal choice about whether to have a child.

  • Women's right to control their bodies is non-negotiable. It is essential that the option of a safe, legal abortion remains available. The "morning-after" pill must be affordable and easily accessible without a prescription, together with a government-sponsored public relations campaign to educate women about this form of contraception. Clinics must be accessible and must offer advice on contraception and the means for contraception; consultation about abortion and the performance of abortions, and; abortion regardless of age or marital status.

  • We endorse women's right to use contraception and, when they choose, to have an abortion. This right cannot be limited to women's age or marital status. Contraception and abortion must be included in all health insurance policies in Nepal, and any Province or local government must be able to legally offer these services free of charge to women at the poverty level. 

  • We encourage women and men to prevent unwanted pregnancies. It is the inalienable right and duty of every woman to learn about her body and to be aware of the phases of her menstrual cycle, and it is the duty of every man to be aware of the functions and health of his and his partner's bodies. This information is necessary for self-determination, to make informed decisions, and to prevent unintended consequences. Unplanned conception takes control away from individuals and makes them subject to external controls. The "morning-after" pill and option of a safe and legal abortion need to remain available.

Economic Equality

  • Single mothers are the largest and most severely impoverished group in Nepal, which explains why so many children in our country live below the poverty line. Welfare reform has forced mothers to abandon their children while they travel to work at minimum wage jobs. With the extreme pay inequity, single mothers cannot afford child care, nurture their children, and move out of poverty.

  • Nepal Green Party supports real reforms to end poverty and return dignity and opportunity to all mothers. We call for implementing innovative programs that work with the particular and special needs of motherhood. We also support other programs such as a universal basic income (guaranteed income or citizen dividend) that will provide for those who nurture the next generation- work that is of incalculable importance to our society. 

Violence and Oppression

  • One of the first forms of discrimination against women in Nepal began with the practice of Sati, which was eradicated by Rana Prime Minister Chandra Shamsher, though even after that the patriarchal situation continues today with women being victims of gender-based violence child marriage, trafficking etc. 

  • Gender-based violence (GBV) towards women is a severe issue in Nepal where its women often find themselves susceptible to both public and domestic violence which constitutes rape, sexual abuse in the workplace and at home, and human trafficking. There is a persistence of harmful traditional practices deemed life-threatening such as Deuki (act of offering young girls to Hindu temples to live without proper care or education) and Chhaupadi (menstruating women are kept in a shed away from the home to live under harsh conditions).[9] Based on the study by United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) entitled Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women in Nepal, abused women are more inclined to suffer from depression, anxiety, psychosomatic symptoms, sexual dysfunction and various reproductive health problems.

  • The proportion of Nepali women who have been subjected to domestic violence are estimated at 60 to 70 per cent. Gender-based violence is worse in rural communities where an estimated 81 per cent of women experience recurring domestic violence. These incidences include physical abuse by husbands, polygamy, dowry-related murders, and physical and psychological harassment by household members.

  • Reasons for gender-based violence in Nepal are largely attributed to social taboos and superstitions associated with women and deeply entrenched beliefs that propagate derogatory attitudes toward female such as Chhori ko janma hare ko karma ("A daughter is born with a doomed fate"). 

  • We must address the root cause of all violence even as we specifically address violence to women. We support stronger legislation, programs and enforcement. We also call for new dialogue and re-thinking that can lead to better language, ideas and solutions. We urge that the term "domestic violence" be replaced by the term "violence," because "domestic violence" is not perceived as real violence, which leads to it not being treated legally and practically for the violence that it is. We urge that the term "sex work" not be used in relation to prostitution. With the increasing conflation of trafficking (the violent and illegal trafficking in women and girls for forced sex) with prostitution, it is impossible to know which is which, and what violence the term "sex work" is masking. No source in existence knows which forms of prostitution comprise forced sex and which comprise free will or choice prostitution. Forced sex is rape, and it is a crime. An increasing number of experts think the percentage of choice prostitution is very small, leaving the larger number of women exposed to serious and often fatal violence. Much of what is commonly called prostitution is actually sex trafficking by definition. Nepal Green Party calls for a safer world for women and girls.

  • Nepal Green Party has zero-tolerance for the illegal international trafficking of humans. Of the millions of humans trafficked worldwide, the large majority are women and children who are bought and sold as slaves. They are kept captive and in debt-bondage that can never be paid off. Most are sold over and over again for forced sex prostitution. Forced sex is rape and a serious crime. Some are forced to labour in agriculture, sweatshops, hotels, restaurants, domestic service and other forms of servitude. According to Human Rights Watch, in all cases, coercive tactics — including deception, fraud, intimidation, isolation, threat and use of physical force, or debt bondage — are used to control women. Today, an estimated 54 women and girls are trafficked across the border into India every single day.

  • Nepal Green Party supports all efforts to eradicate this extreme abuse of human rights, including but not limited to enforcement of existing laws and passage of tough new ones, punishing traffickers, aiding victims, increasing public awareness, reforming immigration laws, supporting existing programs and creating new ones.

  • Nepal Green Party urges a more thorough dialogue and understanding of violence against women and girls, including from prostitution and trafficking, that causes health and injury damage that seriously degrades their lives, even to death or premature death including from HIV, syphilis and many other diseases, as well as causing severe economic hardships. We call for solutions to this enormous problem that can result in awareness and the introduction of legislation in the Federal Parliament to address it.

Access to Health Services

  • Health services in Nepal are inadequate and insufficient and are thus reflected in the low health status of Nepalese in relation to the rest of the Southeast Asian region. The most common illnesses that females at reproductive age face are anemia and malnutrition, due to the discrimination faced in childhood and while growing up. As females, especially girls, are considered to be of the lowest status in the household, they are often the last to eat and thus do not receive the proper nutrition required. Almost 70% of females who have reached puberty suffer from these common illnesses. Also, many women often delay seeking medical help out of fear. Therefore there need to be accessible medical clinics, medical programmes and hospitals in all corners of the country specialising in women's health. 

  • The maternal mortality ratio in Nepal, stands at 380 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births in 2008, according to estimates by the WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/The World Bank. Although there has been a significant decrease as compared to the ratio of 539 per 100 000 live births in 2003, the ratio is still one of the highest in the world. Because of the inadequate provision of healthcare for pregnant mothers, they are more susceptible to death during the course of pregnancy and during labour itself. According to the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2001, about 10% of all births are carried out in the presence of a qualified doctor or medical staff. This reflects the prevalence of home births, around 81% of all births, in Nepalese society. Due to cultural beliefs, women are generally reluctant to allow any outsiders to be present or attend to the birth. Geography has also greatly limited the availability of health services especially those in rural and mountainous regions. Even though there has been much road development in recent years, females are less impacted by it, as they remain infrequent road users. 

  • Nepal Green Party calls for education and raising awareness among women, men and the whole of society so we can get rid of the stigma and taboo which prevents Nepali women from getting proper Medical support.