WOW | Men Speak

ARE THE FESTIVALS FAIR TO WOMEN?

Excitement is palpable as the festivals approach. People from all corners of the country are counting the minutes to spend quality time relaxing and celebrating Dashain and Tihar among loved ones. But is the festive holiday season EQUALLY FUN? WOW’s Aakriti Maya asks a range of intelligent and spirited Nepali men on how gender roles play out during the holidays and whether or not there is gender-based discrimination during the festivals that are based on feminine divinity.

Aanand Mishra
Founder, President and CEO, Center for Research and Sustainable Development Nepal

During the holidays we see men drinking, playing taas, hanging out and eating well. The default setting is for the wives, sisters and mothers to make varieties of food, buy new clothes for the family, and prepare the household for the upcoming festivities. Ironically, we worship Durga during Dashain but ignore the Durgas of our own houses, giving women all the chores. I think change starts from your own household. In our society, there is an added sasu-buhari complex, where the female figures from an older generation pressure their daughter in laws to carry out certain responsibilities because it’s their turn to serve the household. This is a situation in which men can step in and redistribute jobs so that the whole family can enjoy equally because the default shouldn’t be that men work and women play. In Rajbiraj where I grew up, the holidays were the best time of my life! Both boys and girls always played, ate, sang and celebrated together with no sense of discrimination but as I grew older I realise that when women get married, there are many boundaries that didn’t exist for them before now also extending to the celebrations of Dashain and Tihar. I have always been little rebellious and hesitant accepting norms for what they are. When celebrating the holidays, I make sure that the females aren’t the only ones that have responsibilities.