On March 8, the International Women’s Day was marked worldwide amidst fanfare and jubilation. While calling for gender equality, the global event celebrated the achievements the fairer sex made in political, social and economic fronts in the past decades. The women and men did not only utilise the occasion to bask in their gains and recall the past struggles launched for women’s liberty and emancipation. In many places, they came to the streets to protest the existing gender inequality. For example, in Spain, more than five million workers participated in the country’s first “feminist strike” that called for ending sexual discrimination, domestic violence and the wage gap. Similar scenarios were seen in the UK, France, South Korea, Australia and other countries. Nepal that has seen many political struggles and movements is not an exception when it comes to the International Women’s Day. The country officially recognises the Day as public holiday. The government, women’s organisations, NGOs, INGOs and civil society groups joined hands to observe the day.

Over 20 organisations came up with an innovative idea to organise ‘Men’s March’ for women’s rights and freedom on the occasion. The male members joined the rallies and meetings to encourage their female counterpart. It was inspired by the motto that ‘men and women are the two wheels of the same cart.’ This is indeed a balanced attitude that avoids extreme views of misogynists and hardliner feminists. Highlighting the objective of the function, former Chief Justice Kalyan Shrestha said that although the violence against women is the reflection of the social and individual construct and attitude, man is not the synonym to violence against woman. During the rally, sanitary pads were distributed to the men so that they grasp women’s problems and contribute to solve them. This is a unique way of reminding the complex reproductive health of women. It is true that without the involvement of men, women won’t be able to resolve all their problems. Men and women are complementary to each other in order to push ahead the wheels of development, peace and prosperity. Nepal is also a country where women have achieved significant feats with the help of male members.

Nepal is one of the few countries in the world that has sent women to vital posts of the state, including President, House Speaker and Chief Justice. Women participation in politics is hugely successful owing to pro-women constitutional and legal provisions. Women now occupy 41 per cent of all local elected government positions. At least 14,000 women were elected in the local units, which is a rare achievement in the field of women empowerment. Women participation in the national parliament stands at around 33 per cent, which is 10 per cent higher than the global average of their representation in the parliament. However, it does not mean that women are on par with their male counterpart in every aspect of life. The women still suffer from myriad discriminations, sexual and domestic violence and economic inequality. In order to overcome these bad conditions, men and women must work hand in hand. Without the support of women, no man can succeed in his endevours and vice versa. Therefore, it is a collective mission as shown by the ‘Men’s March’ that will enable both the sexes to achieve complete gender equality in the society.

Date: 2018/3/11
Source: The Rising Nepal