Women from almost all social groups in Nepal have a low status- Report

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NL Today

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Kathmandu: A report entitled ‘Who are left behind? Tracking Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals in Nepal’ published by Central Department of Anthropology, Tribhuvan University in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in October 2020 says that women from almost all social groups have a low status in Nepal.

“The key motive of this report is to provide sex- caste and ethnicity- disaggregated evidence from NSIS 2018 to support the monitoring of the Nepal SDGs”, states the report. The report provides an analysis of Nepal’s progress on the sustainable development Goals (SDG) and likewise, it includes sex-caste and ethnicity- disaggregated data from Nepal Social Inclusion Survey (NSIS) 2018 on selected SDG indicators.

The goals included in the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development has an immense capacity to transform the lives of women, girls, marginalized castes, ethnicities, racial groups, indigenous communities and other remaining ones who have been marginalized historically, economically, politically and socially throughout the globe.

According to the report, due to the very limited access to economic resources, women from almost all social groups in Nepal have a low economic status. The SDG indicator looks at households having property/tangible assets such as; animals, birds, ornaments, houses, land and savings in women’s names. As per the data provided by the report, the control over economic resources is very less among women across all social group ranging from a high of 33.7 percent among Hill Brahmin women, to a low of only 16.5 percent among Madhesi Dalit women.

Dambar Chemjong, the project coordinator of the research, recommends the concerned authority to formulate plans and policies to address issues of vulnerable groups. The concerned authorities should make the group as capable as the community or group which are comparatively progressive, Chemjong opines.

The report considers the patrilineal system of inheritance as a prime factor for making it happen. Most women own only what is offered to them as gifts or dowry when they get married. Along with Madhesi Dalit Women, Muslim women also have very least number of bank accounts and assets, specifically 20.4 percentage.

As per the report, NSIS collected data from 200 households for each of 88 caste and ethnic groups, for a total of 17,600 sample households. One male and one female were interviewed from each household, with 98.5 percent response rate. Altogether there were 40 indicators, consisting 36 indicators from the National Planning Commission’s SDG frameworks and four other indicators were based on their relevance to rights and social justice.

Nepal and the 2030 Agenda

‘Nepal has met almost all of the MDGs set for achievement between 2000- 2015, but its record is uneven across social groups, gender, and geographical regions’, states the report. Mobilization of female community health volunteers, remittance that directly augmented household welfare, expansion of supporting physical infrastructure and the priority given to poverty reduction in national plans and programs were some of the prime factors contributing to the achievements.

Building on the MDGs, Nepal will have to make great effort to achieve most of the SDGs by 2030 given its commitment to the global agenda. The constitution of Nepal 2015 has a strong foundation which has opened up various avenues in order to meet SDGs. It institutionalizes a Federal Republic and envisions an inclusive state, inclusive democracy and inclusive society as well as broad-based prosperity.

“Nepal has a strong constitutional mandate to ensure that all development and growth processes are not only sustainable, but adhere to the principles of non-discrimination, social inclusion, and social justice for all segments of the population. This commitment lays the foundation for Nepal to build on and strive ahead to meet the SDGs by 2030, without leaving anyone behind”, reads the report.

An important pledge of the 2030 agenda is to ‘leave no one behind’ which sounds very ambitious but greatly needed. Marking the pledge, all member countries are to implement the SDGs by ensuring achievements for all groups and sectors of the population.