International Women’s Day 2018 – why are we celebrating it?

All over the world we celebrate international women’s day on March 8, and in Nepal the day is celebrated with a public holiday. Even though the day is celebrated and recognized, we want to create awareness about why we are celebrating this day, and how important it is to remember why we dedicate this day to women and their fight for equality.

Physical abuse is unfortunately still a reality for many women in Nepal. Recently a 62-year-old woman reported to Hamro Palo being physically assaulted by her husband. She also reported it to the police, but she couldn’t get any support from them. Many Nepalese women take all of the burden in the family on their own shoulder by managing the household, but unfortunately in return many get beaten up by their husband.

Also harassment against girls in school is a big problem, and a lot of cases gets reported to Hamro Palo each year. An example of a case which was reported to Hamro Palo concerning harassment in school was about a male teacher who repeatedly assaulted the girls and made remarks about what they were wearing, he had also been harshly punishing young girls and boys for not doing their assignments.
Fortunately, two girls bravely stood up against the teacher and the school was shut down for a week, and in the end the teacher was asked to quit his job. However, the teacher is still teaching, reportedly because of his connections.

A lot of male teachers use their power as an authority to assault and harass girls in school which leads to a lot of insecurities for the girls. With the harassment going on in school it makes it difficult to keep the girls there, the girls stop going and in the end, they miss out on their education.

Not getting their education makes the girls more vulnerable to get married at a young age. It is still a big problem that girls under the legal age of 20 years get married and Hamro Palo gets a lot of cases reported. One of the cases was regarding a 13-year-old girl and a 20-year-old boy, both the families of the boy and the girl were against the marriage. Even though it is illegal to get married at such a young age, and their parents didn’t approve, the two of them still ended up getting married.
More than a quarter of women with no education were married before the age of 15, compared to only 2% of women with higher education.

These cases are examples of current issues regarding gender equality in Nepal, and we need to keep all of this in our minds when we celebrate the International Women’s Day on March 8.
We still have a long way, reaching our goal for equality, but we keep fighting.

We plan to celebrate International Women’s Day and celebrate our work with adolescent girls.