Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’ is the theme of International Women’s Day this year. This theme is very relevant in Nepal’s context as we are working for gender mainstreaming in all sectors we work in and for gender equality. The truth is unless we achieve them we won’t be able to achieve the sustainable development goal of the country.
In this regard, INGOs working in Nepal have adopted rights-based and gender-inclusive approaches in their programs. Those working especially for women’s rights issues have adopted a rights-based and gender-inclusive approach by making their working policies and programs gender-responsive and accountable so that everyone is treated equally in accessing justice and opportunity. The mandate for INGOs in Nepal has always been the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women. They strongly advocate creating awareness and where needed reducing these inequalities.
The Constitution of Nepal has a provision to ensure gender equality and social inclusion to bring women into the mainstream of development. The government of Nepal has placed gender inclusion at the forefront of the national agenda and also continues to highlight the need to improve the status of women, thus working towards reducing inequalities. This is where the priorities of the INGOs and that of the government match.
INGOs strive towards increasing this consciousness of gender inclusions and focus on a wide variety of resources and activities to support stakeholders, partners, and the communities they work in. Likewise, the development sector has been working to ensure gender inclusion and equity in Nepal. It is working in close coordination with the Nepal government for achieving gender equality and sustainable development and contributing to developing gender-responsive programs and policies, even during times of emergency.
Yet, there are areas to improve, even requiring interventions to ensure gender equality and equity. They include removing harmful social norms that promote gender-based violence, education, economic empowerment of women, sexual and reproductive health, and laws and policies. We need to continuously speak up for equal participation of women in the social, political, and economic sectors for sustainable development. In addition, we need to engage men and boys in the campaign of justice, equality, and equity.
Ratna Shrestha, currently working as Project Manager-ECM in VSO, has expertise in Gender Transformative Approach and is engaged in the transformation of harmful social norms. She is also the coordinator of the GESI Working Group at Associations of International INGOs Nepal (AIN).