Gender And Democracy
A compendium of candid discussions
on a complex issue
and Democracy in Nepal
Edited by Laxmi Keshari Manandhar
and Krishna B. Bhattachan
Published by Central Department
of Home Science-Womens Studies Program, Padma
Kanya Multiple Campus
Prices: Not discloseds
By KESHAB POUDEL
Following the restoration of multiparty
democracy, many new jargons have appeared in social and
intellectual discussions at various levels. From womens
empowerment to social justice, from racial discrimination
to gender issues and from good governance to corruption,
Nepalese intellectuals have debated all aspects of the
issues involved. What changes have these discussions brought
to society? That remains to be seen.
Gender perspective is one of the hotly
debated issues of Nepalese society today. But only a few
people understand what the discussions are all about.
This may be one of the reasons why whenever gender-related
discussions take place, the same set of faces are seen
making the presentations. It seems that only a select
group of intellectuals has acquired enough expertise on
In an effort to generate more informed
debate on gender issues, the Central Department of Home
Science-Womens Studies Program of Padma Kanya Multiple
Campus organized a talk program with support from the
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. This book, an outcome of the
seminar, includes articles presented by various scholars
on the legal, social, cultural, economic and democratic
perspectives of gender issues.
"When we talk about gender, we
should first demystify a popular misconception that it
is about women only and that it has nothing to do with
men. As gender is socially constructed, it is indeed equally
important for both women and men," said Laxmi Keshari
Manandhar, head of the department.
Although the articles incorporated in
the book deal with all aspects of gender issues, the discussions
proceed mostly from a theoretical perspective rather than
from the experiences and experiments in Nepal. Most of
the authors are well-known personalities in the seminar
circuit, including Kapil Shrestha, Dr. Meena Acharya,
Krishna B. Bhattachan, Durga Ghimire, Sapana Malla Pradhan
and Yubaraj Sangraula. Along with old hands, authors like
Bindu Pokharel, Mira Mishra, Harinder Thapaliya, Indira
Sharma, Soni Joshi and Yasso Kanta Bhattachan (Gauchan)
have also made impressive contributions.
In their article "Gender and Democracy
in Nepal", Bindu Pokharel and Mira Mishra discuss
the participation of men and women in the democratic process.
They conclude that womens participation
in the political process is negligible compared to mens.
"Womens lives have been dramatically changed
in recent years. There is tremendous improvement in their
conditions, as more and more women are getting education,
entering the labor market and have access to health care
facilities. However, gender inequality still persists,"
write Pokharel and Mishra.
Indira Sharma explains the history of
women and their contributions in the context of development
in Nepal. Sharma holds the views that Nepal has been able
to make advances in gender sensitization.
Advocate Sapana Malla Pradhan discusses
the issue of womens inheritance rights. She explains
the legal and other lapses in dividing equal property
among men and women. Kapil Shrestha deals with the human
and political rights of women.
Dr. Meena Acharyas article, "Gender
Equality and Democracy: The Economic Aspect", analyses
the constitutional rights of women and their participation
in the area of gender.
Gender issues are too complex and varied
to be encapsulated in a single volume. Nevertheless, this
book should be able to encourage a more open and candid
debate on a subject Nepal will find itself discussing
for a long while.
The National Newsmagazine, Vol. 20, No. 42, May 04
- May 10 , 2001