Social and gender-based exclusion and discrimination is deeply rooted in Nepal’s patriarchal society where men and certain caste groups are considered superior in both public and private life. Across the country, cultural practices place girls, women and marginalised groups in significant danger of violence and oppression. For example high dowries are imposed around marriage, women are banished from their homes during menstruation due to supposed impurity in what is known as chhaupadi and there is significant caste-based discrimination. With the new constitution in place, Nepal’s government is prioritising gender and social inequality more than ever before. But is it enough?
Gender has been at the heart of our programme since Saferworld began work in Nepal in 2009. In eastern Nepal, we pioneered research into established ideas of what it means to be a man and into young men’s attitudes to violence, in particular to sexual and gender-based violence. We found that factors such as economic or political instability and migration can contribute to young men asserting their masculinity through violence.
In other work, we partnered with the Nepal Police to produce documentaries that showcase the vital role of women police officers in public security. We also supported the development of the National Action Plan for Nepal, which focused on implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security. We assembled a resource pack on why it is important to consider gender within programming for civil society organisations at district and national levels.