Kathmandu: Swastika Khadka, 15, took over the position of Executive Editor of Nepal Live Today, a comprehensive English-language news portal of Nepal, for the day to mark the United Nations International Day of the Girls.
Swastika, who dreams of becoming a manager of the bank, is equally concerned about the problems that girls are facing on a daily basis in Nepal.
“I am nervous at the same time excited that I am taking the role of Executive Editor,” she shared while taking over the role as a part of the ‘Girls Get Equal’ campaign.
“I am glad to take over the position of Executive Editor for a day as part of the ‘Girls Get Equal’ campaign. I feel that we can reach out to many people and can make people informed about crucial issues through journalism,” Khadka shared with a smile after taking over the role.
As the Executive Editor, she held editorial meetings, took stock of contemporary issues, prioritized the stories for the day, and finalized the stories.
“The media sector should stand up for gender equality,” she told the editorial team while conducting the first meeting under her leadership. “As journalists of a progressive newsroom, I request you all to give up the culture of casual stereotypes while covering girls’ issues,” she said after taking over the role.
Back in her village, she is actively involved in awareness-raising campaigns as a champion of change, a program being run by Plan International Nepal.
Now is the time to ensure that girls will have their say in the news stories. Expressing concerns on the issue of the under-representation of women while distributing election tickets for the upcoming federal and provincial level elections in November, she instructed reporters to cover the issue extensively.
“Media can create pressure on policymakers and powerful politicians to end discrimination,” she said. “Our newsroom should always prioritize the issue of under-representation of women and girls in politics.”
In Nepal, violence against girls such as child marriage, sexual abuse, and menstrual taboos still remain underreported, or misreported, she said.
She took over the role of the Executive Editor of Nepal Live Today on Tuesday as part of the Girls Get Equal campaign launched by the child rights organization, Plan International, coinciding with the International Day of the Girl.
Bhagirath Yogi, Consulting Editor of Nepal Live Group, said: “Nepal Live Today is pleased to have a 15-year-old girl taking over the role of Executive Editor. The takeover has given a symbolic meaning that girls’ should take lead and raise their voice so as to reach out to the wider community including policymakers.”
Girls Get Equal is a global campaign demanding power, freedom, and representation for girls and young women, said Ram Kishan, Country Director of Plan International Nepal. “The campaign provides an enabling environment for girls to step into leadership roles and demand equal power, freedom, and representation.”
Editor of Nepal Live Today, Siromani Dhungana, said that Nepal Live Today decided to join the global campaign as women are still under-represented in newsrooms. “Even fewer women are there at the top positions in Nepali newsrooms. On the International Day of the Girl (IDG) 2022, Nepal Live Today is proud to share that our editorial policy accords high priority to issues related to girls and other marginalized communities.”
This year, the global community is marking the 10th anniversary of the IDG. The day provides an opportunity to have increased attention on issues that matter to girls amongst governments, policymakers, and the general public, and more opportunities for girls to have their voices heard on the global stage.