Inter-action Program on Nation Building, Constitution
and Women's Participation
Organized by Modern Kanya Multiple College
(MKMC), Supported by Friedrich Elbert Stiftung (FES- Nepal)
-Krishna Prasad Bhandari
22 December 2007, Kathmandu
Inter-Action program was held here in Kathmandu
to discuss the issues relating to women's role in nation building
and their active participation in every tier of state apparatus.
Similarly, it could identify the root causes of their social,
political and economic backwardness and mainstream them addressing
the prevailing obstacles.
Finance Minister Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat was
the Chief Guest of the program. Honorable law maker and ex-
Minister Ishwor Pokharel, another law maker Ganesh Shah, Honorable
Election Commissioner Usha Nepal, Secretary of Government of
Nepal Binda Hada, Prof. Harindra Thapaliya, were other special
guests present in the program. Similarly, teachers, lawyers,
journalists, social activists, students and other reputed individuals
were also present in the program. Minister Mahat inaugurated
the program kindling the lamp. Prof. Ram Prasad Dahal, Chairman
of the College presided over the program. Student representative,
Anjali Khanal welcome all the participants of the program.
In the beginning of the program, the written
Message from the Honorable Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala,
wishing for the successful completion of the program, was read
out. Koirala wrote in his best wishes that he felt sad not being
able to present in the program still assured to be with women
in their sorrows and happiness.
Minister Mahat said, "Every citizen is
equal in the eyes of laws irrespective to their caste, religion,
gender, and economic status and so on. However, this 'color-blind'
policy seems flawed in the case where disadvantaged and marginalized
groups of the society can not contend with others equally. Hence,
positive discrimination is must to bring these groups into the
mainstream". He exposed the bitter reality the best and
bright new blood doesn't want to join neither in politics nor
in the civil service. Nation is not a dinner table rather requires
tenacity of all the stakeholders. Social movement is necessary
to come out from this impediment in the country like Nepal.
"Although something has been done for the betterment of
women's situation in Nepal, their empowerment is possible only
with the collective effort of both the genders. Reservation
is not the panacea but we should be clever enough for capacity
building," said Hada. Similarly, Prof. Thapaliya shaded
light on the invisibility of women even if they occupy more
than fifty percent of the total population. They have not got
chance to participate equally in the discourse of their concern.
"Gender insensitivity among women themselves has fueled
to make the situation worse. Even though we have got 33% reservation,
there we still lack the supply of proficient aspirant in the
market to meet the demand. Law Maker Ishwor Pokharel articulated
his view that the new constitution should be drafted by people's
representative with equal participation of both the genders.
Further he said, "If the political leaders show their indifference
towards women's issues, women should raise their collective
voices to sensitize them". Prof. Ram Prasad Dahal talked
on the importance of women education and expressed his pledge
to impart quality education to women for which he has spent
more than two decades in this field. At the end of the first
session, student Sandhya Sharma conferred souvenir to the chief
guest and other special guests.
In the second session of the program, Political
Analyst Dev Raj Dahal, Constitutional Expert Kashi Raj Dahal
and Women Activists duo Sabita Sapkota and Sharmila Koirala
presented their working papers on "Modern Nation Building:
Present Scenario of Nepal", "Women's Participation
in Constitution" and "Women's Participation in Nation
While presenting his working paper, Dev Raj
Dahal explained the present fragile situation of Nepalese state
machinery. There, he recognized the erosion in monopoly of state
authority, competition on violence increment, emergence of patronage
culture, erosion in policy supremacy and failure to carry out
the objective of 'good governance'. Only the political statesmanship
and visionary leader can salvage the nation from this quandary
He emphasized on democratization within political parties and
civil societies that steer the leadership be selfless and motivates
towards civic accountability. Political groups have not established
the democracy founded on gender and social equity, and inter-generation
justice yet. Mr. Dahal affirmed that co-working culture among
all the stake holders is indispensable for the institutionalization
of welfare state, constitutional stability, development, democracy
and peace. State, all the time should labor to achieve the goal
of good governance. Besides, the line agency of the government
should be pro-active for the effectual enforcement of state
policy, law and rule. Citizen of the nation should realize the
presence of their government through the services which directly
concern their day to day life.
In the course of presenting his paper Constitution
Expert Kashi Raj Dahal focused on the scope of constitution,
modalities of drafting constitution, main agenda of women empowerment
and ways to accomplish these objectives. As the constitution
is the fundamental law of the nation, it affects the entire
human activities. Therefore, the representation of all the stake
holders is unavoidable while documenting it. In this pretext,
women who occupy more than 50% of the total population should
have opportunity to play the constructive role making their
involvement in this effort. They should not be provided with
only 'one-day democracy' to cast their vote.
Mrs. Sabita Sapkota and Mrs. Sharmila Koirala,
while making their joint presentation explained that gender
issues should not be underestimated in nation building procedure.
Nation can not develop if its women populace is uneducated,
backward, unequal in the eyes of law and victimized with superstitions
and conservative social practices. They prioritized that unless
women's political, educational, economic, health condition,
cultural and other dynamisms are not provided with due considerations
by the state, it can not enjoy the prosperity. They presented
the facts and figures portraying the involvement of women in
different quarter of state apparatus and found inadequate compared
to their total population. They focused to change the patriarchal
social prototype, improve social orthodox thoughts, political
vow, and positive discrimination, and establish anti-exploitation
nexus, timely and accessible justice. In addition, nation should
be pro-active for women empowerment and holistic development.
After the presentation of working papers,
Dr. Manju Dahal, Kalpana Karki, Shova Ghimire, Nava Raj Dahal
and other participants of the program put their queries to the
respective presenters about the presented papers. Presenters,
in turn, contented their curiosities mentioned on the work papers.
- Participation of all the citizens is necessary
for the holy mission of nation building. People can enjoy
their rights only if the nation is strong. For this, strong
economy, qualitative education and successful political leadership
are the pre-requisites.
- Constitution is the fundamental law of
the nation, so, in the process of documenting constitution,
people's comprehensive partaking is crucial. All the political
leaders should confirm their tenacity to draft the new constitution
through constitutional assembly. Or else, there may raise
the question in trust and recognition of the political leaders.
- Political, economic and social rights of
the women should be constitutionally assured. For this purpose,
women's outstanding participation is essential in the course
of constitution formulation. Political milieu should be friendly
for this objective.
- Exploitation and violence against women
should be over. Women's partaking and representation in the
nation building is indispensable through women empowerment.
- Women education is precondition for the
application of women rights.
- Lastly, the continuance of this sort of
inter-action program, seminar, and work shops are crucial
to penetrate the prevailing quandary in the nation.