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.

Pradip Khatiwada
Environmentalist/ Youth Activist/ Writer

As a child growing up in Sindhupalchowk, I loved deusi and bhailo during Tihar. However, I then didn’t give much thought to the fact that the deusi group were allowed to stay up all night whereas bhailinis had a 10pm curfew. I remember playing games with my cousins, meeting my distant family, and eating a variety of dishes. Again, I didn’t realise how my sisters and female relatives were expected to help out with the preparations while we enjoyed. In fact, I was even jealous of the girls because they got more dakshina than we did. Even though I come from a relatively progressive household where responsibilities are shared, I now see the truth in our society: women are culturally and traditionally groomed to take on most responsibilities during the holiday season. In my household today, since my sister is an independent working woman she often challenges us and pushes back against these normative gender roles. She asks me what I am doing to help out and honestly, I really appreciate it!

I want to see equally contributing families during the holiday season because Dashain is more than just a break from work, it’s a holiday with cultural and religious meaning, and a time for reconnecting with family close and far.