Women’s empowerment through voice

Women's empowerment through voice

CAN recognises the subordinate position of women in Nepali society, providing Women’s Groups as a platform for voice and social change. For example, the literacy rate for women in 45% compared to 72% for men.[1] Women marry young (average age 17 years),[2] and 80% experience repeated domestic violence.[3] The subordinate position of women in Nepali society leads to a variety of exploitative practices and social exclusion. Women’s groups are vital support and voice platforms for empowerment and social integration for women in rural communities.

CAN currently started two women’s groups, in Gorkha and Dhankutah. The groups meet weekly to discuss issues that women face in a safe and supportive environment. These issues include gender based violence, alcoholism, caste based discrimination, their family life, current political issues etc. When talking together, women realise they are not alone and they have a voice, whereby ideas are shared for support and to improve their lives. Central to this is reducing gendered-violence stigma, whereby victims feel ashamed and unable to share what happened to them. Additionally, these communities are patriarchal, where development and planning programs aren’t often shared to women. Such groups enable women to access the information and asses its values and demerits on a gendered level. Therefore, through women’s groups, gendered issues become a topic of conversation – a starting point for community change.

[2] Ministry of Health and Population Nepal
[3] The Asia Foundation