Regional gender equality panel formed

Kathmandu

Jul 16, 2014-

A regional network, South Asian Alliance for Gender Equality, has been formed to establish and strengthen women-engaged caucuses and commissions in the region.

The regional network launched on Wednesday aims to create a platform for regional dialogues to bring forward contentious gender-related issues in the SAARC countries.

Addressing the participation of women in politics in Nepal, Pushpa Bhusal, former Constituent Assembly (CA) member, said that along with increasing representation in terms of numbers, Nepal should also focus on increasing the participation and role of women starting at the grass-roots level. Nepal currently does not have a women’s parliamentary caucus.

Along with optimising the participation of women in politics, the forum will also be developing indicators to measure the extent of violence against women and ensure the availability of comparable data, Bhusal said.

“We need to bring about a change in attitude and bring forward women from the grass-roots level by providing 10 per cent quota on winnable seats in political parties,” said Khawar Mumtaz, the chairperson of Pakistan National Commission on the Status of Women. She added that nations win if women win and urged everyone to join hands to raise the concerns of the voiceless as well as faceless women.

She said so while addressing a two-day South Asia Regional Exchange Meeting that concluded in the Capital on Wednesday. The programme was attended by the parliamentarians, election management bodies’ women rights activists from seven countries.

Mumtaz, who has been working for gender rights for around 30 years, said the forum will be developing a mechanism to regularly engage with existing SAARC bodies and ensure that the recommendations of the proposed regional network are taken forward to the upcoming SAARC Summit.

Addressing one of the panels at the programme, Supreme Court Justice Kalyan Shrestha, who also serves as the chairperson of SAARC Law, highlighted the importance of extensive research on domestic violence as it was a potent barrier that hindered the development of women.

“Violence against women is a social emergency and we need to take action against it,” he said.

Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and the National commission on the Status of Women of Pakistan along with National Women Commission of Nepal with support of UN Women and UNDP Pakistan hosted the meeting.

Published: 17-07-2014 08:40

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