By Samira Paudel
Women for Human Rights (WHR) with the cooperation of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) organized a three day long workshop on “Promoting Single Women for Political Participation in Peace Building”, July 4 to 6, 2012, in Kathmandu.
There were altogether 30 participants from Central, Eastern, mid Western, Western and far Western development regions of Nepal.
These 30 diverse single women from across the country were selected and trained as political leaders to represent their respective districts and serve as trainer back home to their groups on gender, political and electoral issues as well as peace building, trauma healing and reconciliation. Most of the participants were single women members of the existing leading political parties.
The first day of the workshop moved forward with an inaugural session followed by contents of Gender and sex focusing on potential gender issues in elections, electoral cycle, quota debate and their affirmative action(s) from gender perspective as argued by gender expert Ms. Salina Joshi from UNDP.
The second day kicked off with an intensive panel discussion on women in political world, barriers the women face in accessing electoral process and sharing best and worst practices from the past locally, regionally and also globally.
They also discussed on the importance of free and fair elections and the problems women face during elections. The panel discussion was followed by different group works on building women’s leadership for effective mobilization at community level for gender justice, areas of interventions for the political empowerment of single women at executive, judiciary and legislative and discussing on strategies to increase single women’s participation at policy level and foster positive peace.
The first session of the third day concentrated on sharing of experiences of female ex CA members for lessons to be learnt which the future leaders can get the best out of it and get to know the challenges and obstacles they had to face in the days ahead being a women in a decision making position.
The second session focused more on strategies for advocacy, awareness, campaigns, capacity building, process and steps to be followed, networking nationally and internationally and also the role of single women group in politics.
At the end of the workshop, these selected 30 single women were believed to be fully prepared to become an active and successful political leader in their region to work on post conflict peace building process in Nepal. After the unsuccessful CA, the single women also developed a strategy of having a separate women political party with mixed groups holding three main mandates of Nationalism, Activism and Feminism. This idea of bringing a new political party in the country led by women groups, was supported by the representatives of different regions and promised to have a deep consultation with academics, civil society, media, government officials and members of different political parties to make the idea a concrete one and move forward with the new hopes for the country.
Er. Rabindra Kumar (member secretary of Social Welfare Council), Dev Raj Dahal (Head of FES Nepal), Lily Thapa (Founder of WHR), Kunda Sharma (Treasurer of WHR), Chandrika Bhattarai (President of WHR) and Professor Anjoo Sharan Upadhyaya (Professor from Banaras Hindu University, India and chair at the Political Science Department of TU) spoke at the Inaugural session.
Courtesy: FES, Nepal Office