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Daughters in darkness

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- DEV SINGH MALI

Mar 29, 2018-

In this day and age, each and every person should be allowed to live equally and respectably. Unfortunately, some boundaries have been erected to create discrimination between girls and boys. In rural and remote areas of Nepal, there are narrow-minded people who associate their daughters with the kitchen and their sons with the country’s future. Boys are given full freedom to read, play, visit places and wear fashionable clothes, but girls get fewer opportunities because of social and cultural boundaries.

Last month, I went back to my village Belauri in Kanchanpur. At one home, I saw that the children were wearing different school uniforms. The two sons had the same school dress while the daughter had a different uniform. I asked the children’s mother why they were wearing different school uniforms. She replied, “The daughter goes to a public school, and the sons go to a private school.” I asked again, “Why aren’t you sending your daughter to a private school too?” She replied, “Because of economic condition.” I asked her how come she had money for her sons but not for her daughter. She said, “If I spend money on my daughter, we will get nothing in return because she will get married and go off to live in other people’s homes; by our sons will serve us till our death.” The daughter nodded and said that it was the same at her uncle’s house. 

Daughters have to do the household chores after returning from school, but the sons have free time in the evening. They play games, hang around with friends and visit shops. On holidays, boys are allowed to visit nearby towns and go to the cinema to watch movies, but a biased society keeps girls engaged in household work. Girls have to wash the dishes, do the laundry, prepare food, serve the parents and clean their brother’s room. Gender inequality is defined as unequal treatment and opportunities due to perceived differences based solely on the issue of gender. In rural areas of Nepal, daughters are dominated by the mother, elder sister, father, brother and society, in that order. Girls are trapped by traditional norms and values.

Legislators have made laws favouring girls to keep a balance between girls and boys, but the laws are limited to paper because of lack of consciousness among rural parents. They are doing what their parents used to do during their childhood and youth. The government of Nepal is organising adult education programmes for adults and senior citizens, but they do not seem to have succeeded in eliminating wrong beliefs from their minds. One possible way to eradicate this problem is for the government, INGOs, NGOs and other organisations to hold parent-oriented programmes to remove misconceptions about girl children. If girls get justice from their childhood, they will definitely do something for themselves, society and the country. We need to help girls to escape from injustice.  

Published: 29-03-2018 07:38

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