(By Jamie McGoldrick, UN Resident Coordinator). Each day there are horrid stories in the papers on brutality and violence against women. Many women in Nepal have suffered physical violence at some point from the age 15. Twelve per cent of women have experienced sexual violence during their lives.
Excerpt from the article on The Himalayan Times.
• INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
Added At: 2015-03-08 7:48 AM
Every year on March 8 we celebrate International Women’s Day, and every year this day symbolises our commitment to change, like a New Year’s resolution: this year we will do better in empowering women.
Each day there are horrid stories in the papers on brutality and violence against women. Many women in Nepal have suffered physical violence at some point from the age 15. Twelve per cent of women have experienced sexual violence during their lives. The most commonly reported perpetrator was the husband.
Due to social and cultural stigma, more than 60 per cent women who have experience physical and sexual violence have never told anyone. We need to speak out against this violence. We need to recognise those who have suffered sexual violence, including during the conflict and ensure their access to services and justice.
Lack of access to education, lack of economic opportunities, lack of access to meaningful participation in community decision-making and lack of opportunities to influence at the national level. These are not only losses for individual women, who are not living their life to realise their full potential, but also for the country. It is missing out on tremendous economic and development capacity.
Gender equality is not just a women’s issue. Development will under-achieve without full participation of women. This is a fact. And it is particularly relevant in the context of Nepal’s demographic transition, with the largest cohort of young women ever, which deserve investment to enable them to be active leaders.
Nepal has signed international conventions and committed to implement them.
But the issues which we discuss on International Women’s Day are not just the responsibility of the government. It is the responsibility of each person, man and woman alike, each family and each community to treat each other with the dignity and respect, which each human being whether man or woman deserves.
International Women’s Day this year is devoted to the theme “Empower Women, Empower Humanity — Picture It”.
Join me in supporting this call to realise a world — and a Nepal — in which every woman and girl has the opportunity to fulfil her potential and enjoy equal rights and status. And do identify which action you can take to also make this a reality, not just another broken New Year’s promise.
UN Resident Coordinator