#BreaktheBias: Sustainable development is not possible without gender equality

The people in power have a very crucial role to play in creating an enabling environment for gender equality and social inclusion.

Rupa Pandey

  • Read Time 2 min.

The theme of International Women’s Day this year is ‘gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’. I want to relate it with the constitution of Nepal as it is the foundation law of Nepal. Nepal’s constitution has committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination, building an egalitarian and inclusive society, and achieving economic equality, prosperity, and social justice. There has been some progress in these aspects but there are also lots of opportunities to make society truly inclusive by removing the barriers. The people in power have a very crucial role to play in ensuring the commitments of the constitutions on removing these barriers by creating an enabling environment for gender equality and social inclusion. Let’s face it: Without gender equality sustainable development is not possible.

In this context, INGOs in Nepal have embraced rights-based and gender-inclusive approaches as key guiding principles of their programs. These are reflected in strategies, policies and guidelines of the INGOs working in Nepal and those are highly prioritized in the implementation to ensure that vulnerable people are being served. At the organizational level, there is a high emphasis on recruiting staff from vulnerable and marginalized groups to ensure workforce diversity. I/NGO staffing reflects the diversity of communities we serve and, in particular, vulnerable and marginalized communities.

The development sector in Nepal is making efforts to contribute to the efforts made by the government of Nepal to achieve gender equality and social inclusion.

But such efforts alone won’t be enough to achieve gender equality and inclusion. There are areas that require interventions to ensure gender equality and equity. Mainly, there are five such areas. First, an enabling environment should be created to remove the gender barriers. Second, the government should allocate a gender-responsive budget and such a budget should be effectively utilized. Third, behavior change communication programs should be implemented to ensure gender equality. Fourth, more opportunities should be created for women and people who belong to vulnerable groups. Finally, more emphasis should be laid on adopting an equity approach to achieve gender equality.

The development sector in Nepal is making efforts to contribute to the efforts made by the government of Nepal to achieve gender equality and social inclusion. The emphasis has been on workforce diversity and commitment for gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) responsive resources to ensure that the most vulnerable people are being served. 

Yet, much more needs to be done. Equal and meaningful participation of women and marginalized groups should be ensured in the social, political, and economic sectors. We all need to stand united and we all need to contribute from our place for gender equality and social inclusion for an inclusive and just society for sustainable development.

Rupa Pandey is currently working as MEAL Manager at CRS Nepal Country Office. She also serves as Co-Coordinator of GESI working Group of Association of International NGOs.

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