Jun 19, 2016- Women leaders and activists fear that political leaders will reduce women’s representation in Parliament into mere tokenism by interpreting the constitutional guarantee of 33 percent in favour of men and would tip the balance by allocating lesser seats in the lower house of Parliament.
The constitution has ensured one third representation of women in Parliament but it does not go into details about how the targeted number will be achieved.
The fear is that women will still be an afterthought in allocating seats and that the gap in numbers would be filled through nominations to the upper house. While the upper house plays an important role, it is seen as the weaker of the two houses in most parliamentary democracies.
‘In order to ensure 33 percent seats, certain percentage of constituencies will have to be set aside for women in the first-past-the-post system of election or else we will never reach the targeted number,’ said Sashi Shrestha, past president of he Inter-Party Women Alliance (IPWA).
More on the 2015 Constitution of Nepal and the limits on women passing citizenship to their children.
Kathmandu celebrated an early Deepawali this year as inhabitants took to the streets on September 20th to welcome the new constitution. Celebrations were definitely in order - after all, this was a constitution that abolished the death penalty, secured the rights of the LGBTI community, conferred equal property rights on Nepal's sons and daughters, and most importantly, reinstated the country's secular democratic credentials, despite much pressure from certainsections of Indian society. Why then were Nepali women still unhappy? Why did thousands of them come out on the streets in the run up to September 20th? What were those die-ins and week-long fasts all about?
An interesting piece from the archives of The Himalyan Times recording the commitment to 33% representation of women in 2006.
Women promoted to high office in Nepal under the 2015 Constitution. However, more to be done on women's rights particularly restrictions on citizenship.