WOW | People

Why are there not enough women in leadership positions in Nepal? What is holding us back?

Sharu Joshi Shrestha
Head of Strategic Partnership and Resource Mobilisation, UN Women

Nepal has to learn to transform formal equality to equality in result. There is a huge gap in implementing policies in line with the constitutional principles. Most importantly, social norms and practices and stereotypical gender role is a critical factor which further creates hindrance to assume leadership positions.

Gender equality stands as a global challenge that has yet to be overcome. 143 out of 193 countries have ensured equal rights for women in their constitution. However, there are only 22 women in the legislative and 9% negotiators in peace tables. While reviewing the progress of women, the Commission on Status of Women, 2015 revealed that none of the country in the globe achieved gender equality. Although Nepal has progressed in terms of electing three women as heads of state, legislative and judiciary, adopted special measures to promote women’s leadership and participation, this does not necessarily create opportunities for women. Despite special measures to encourage women’s leadership and participation in the cabinet, judiciary, civil service, Nepal army, police, armed force, diplomatic missions and private sector, their participation and representation is still very low.

There are a number of factors behind this such as inadequate commitment wherein Nepal has to learn to transform formal equality to equality in result. There is a huge gap in implementing policies in line with the constitutional principles. Most importantly, social norms and practices and stereotypical gender role is a critical factor which further creates hindrance to assume leadership positions. Women’s access to information and resources facilitates to open the door for women to hold leadership positions. However, going forward, Sustainable Development Goal is an opportunity to bring change in People, Planet and Prosperity. UN Women as an entity for Gender Equality for Empowerment of Women has a vision of planet 50—50 by 2030. Globally and in Nepal, we, together with all strategic partners are advocating for women’s leadership and partnership.