Call to revise constitution to make it gender friendly

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 28, 2015-

Women leaders have prepared a list of 39 things that they want changed in the new constitution to make it gender friendly.

 According to Inter-party Women’s Alliance (IPWA), the word “patriarchy” must be included in the preamble of the constitution in order to explain the fact that women have been victims of patriarchal social structure.

Similarly, changes in gender discriminatory provisions regarding citizenship which denies Nepali women the right to pass on citizenship to their children and their non- Nepali husbands, inclusion of the household chores done by women in the national income and provisions that clearly state that women will be allocated at least 33 percent representational in all constitutional and juridical bodies are some of the changes women leaders have sought.  “The constitution has ensured a lot of our (woman’s) rights and we appreciate that. However, there is room for some more changes to make it more gender friendly and we want them written in the constitution,” said Sashi Shrestha, president of IPWA.

The constitution ensures one-third women representation in the parliament. However, it does not state how that will be acquired. This, according to female leaders, has created confusion among them and they are worried that the women representatives will simply be hand-picked through proportional system.

“Election process is about developing leadership qualities. How will women develop leadership qualities if they are simply hand-picked by seniors in their parties to do as they are told?” said Garima Shahi, a Constitution Assembly member representing CPN-UML.

After seeing the result of the last CA election, where only 10 women had been elected through the first past the post system, women leaders have demanded that 41 constituencies be set aside to be contested by women candidates only. Other demands include assurance that one-third of the cabinet ministers be women.

“We want all our demands written in the constitution as the country has a history of not implementing agreements when it comes to women,” Shrestha said.

Published: 28-09-2015 08:43

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