Sign of the times

FEB 05 -

Nepal is once more in the international spotlight for a series of brutal, inhuman incidents. The cases of Sita Rai, Shiwa Hasami, Bindu Thakur and many others have ruined our international stature and impression. Both Nepali males and females have lost their prestige, though the oppressed here are the females.

These recent incidents show that evidently, we are still lagging far behind when it comes to the coexistence of people and basic respect for the rights of others. Prevalent social evils are the consummate consequences of our minds and thinking. Kidnapping, murder, rape, torture, looting have become common events despite the presence of police administration, government policies, I/NGOs programmes and human rights and women rights activists. Taking advantage of such weak structures, criminals and exploiters are getting more bold. Due to political instability, the culture of impunity has only risen. Various reports state that the maximum number of such incidents of gender violence taken place within the family and by family members, close relatives and neighbours. The home itself, where everyone feels secure, is not safe for women.

Different campaigns and programmes focussing on women have not succeeded. Women and their activities alone will not improve the present situation. Only a joint venture between men and women can turn Nepal into a civilised place to live in. There is a need not for individuals but for collective voices and campaigns. Though the literacy rate of women has progressed much, no remarkable change has been seen in the field of women’s rights. Empowered and educated women are self-centric and analyse all women through their subjective lens. Such women, in collaboration with men, should visit villages and educational institutions to inspire and support the youth and students. When the real situation is acknowledged by large numbers, it carries on to the wider population. Even including human rights issues in school curriculum would help a lot.

Our deep-rooted patriarchal Nepali society has left women and marginalised groups far back. They do not have the chance to participate in the national agenda and the decision-making process. The government needs to manage special educational packages to women, like ensuring free education upto the Bachelor’s degree, special scholarship schemes for female students, persuading them to seek their careers in journalism, sociology, anthropology, gender studies, law and such other self-empowering disciplines.

The role of the media is also equally important as it has great influence in making people aware and disseminating facts and opinions. These activities enrich the minds of people and speak up for good causes. All of these activities open the door for new possibilities and development. Once people are aware, they will learn to coordinate and assimilate people from various sectors to use their knowledge against gender-based violence and its consequences. Women and the ensurement of their rights symbolises a civilised society. If developmental programmes are carried out with the presence and participation of all stakeholders, remarkable changes can begin to take place.

Posted on: 2013-02-05 08:35