Celebrating International Women’s day with Arad Goch family.
When I got an email from Jeremy listing the details for the women’s day special programs, I decided that I wanted to be a part of this wonderful celebration. In Wales, women make up 43% of representation in their Parliament, while in Nepal, government employees continue to create obstacles to grant citizenship certificates based solely on the mother’s nationality even though there is no legal obstacle.
In the morning, at Arad Goch, we greeted everybody saying “Happy International Women Day”, and in the evening, I attended an event, which was organized by WEN Wales, the women’s equality network. The Welsh Government as a way to unite and build the women’s sector in Wales funds this organization. In Nepal, women too are part of the National assembly but age-old customs still relegate women as a vast minority in the country. By being members of the United Nations, Nepal has to accept and follow all the UN manifestos. Practically speaking, the Nepalese patriarchal mentality is still rooted inside the social, cultural and religious structure. This easily reflects during the implementation of laws and systems when women related to violence and rights sometimes fall on a deaf ear when addressing the government. My organization, the Educational Theatre in Nepal, I serve as the president, working on various issues. With strong condemnation of the increasing number of rape, Educational Theatre in Nepal (ETIN) organized an Anti-Rape campaign to combat rape and the abusing of women, young girls, and minors. It was organized to pressure the government to take rape incidents seriously and to enact laws containing harsher punishments for rapists, to change the attitudes of victim blaming as well as victims blaming themselves for these heinous acts of violence and to discourage the perpetrators of these crimes. In the anti-rape Campaign, we gathered and protested outside the Prime Minister’s official residence in Nepal to demand a registered letter to the Prime Minister’s secretary. Our demands focused on policy reform, rape laws and proper investigations that free the victims from administrative roadblocks to getting justice. Our demands also focused on social awareness to eradicate a victim-blaming culture that discourages victims to file cases in fear of social stigma, losing prestige and isolation. An average of three rapes is reported in Nepal every day. The terror and magnitude of rape seem to tear apart the law, order, and image of our society. Women of all ages are not safe in public places, no matter their age.
ETIN monthly distributes sanitary pads to girls in the government schools of some remote villages. Girls’ health education, mainly the topic of menstruation really needs to raise awareness because of its long history of being a topic of taboo. This problem is everywhere and art is a very effective way to advocate for human rights for all.
Geiriau gan Sunaina Panthy