Outcomes of Panel Discussion: “Women’s Equitable and Proportional Representation in 2078 Nepali Local Elections”

Politicians and Feminist Leaders Meet for Candid Discussion

March 14, 2022 DHAPAKHEL, Kathmandu, Nepal — On the occasion of 112th International Women’s Day 2022, IGFF in collaboration with CDWN organized a panel discussion on, “Women’s Equitable & Proportional Representation in the Upcoming Local Elections” on 14 March, 2022.

A total of seven panelists consisting of four feminists and three political leaders spoke on the occasion, which was moderated by IGFF Co-coordinator, Ms. Sharu Joshi Shrestha. Ms. Bharati Silawal-Giri, IGFF Steering Committee Member; Ms. Radhika Regmi, Deputy Country Director, IFES; Ms. Gaura Nepali, general secretary and co-founder, CDWN; and, Ms. Manushi Yami, Central Committee Member, Janata Samajbadi Party, expressed their views from a feminist perspective. They were of the view that the political strategy of garnering votes in the upcoming elections through a coalition of political parties by the coalition of ruling parties could lead to a decrease in fielding women candidates and again fulfilling the 33% quotas through the closed list of proportional electoral system.

Left to Right: Ms. Bharati Silwal Giri, Ms. Radhika Regmi, Mr. Hem Raj Rai, Mr. Ram Chandra Poudel, Ms. Sharu Joshi, Mr. Suresh Ale Magar, Ms. Manushi Yami Bhattarai, Ms. Gaura Nepali. These panelists sit at a long table addressing an audience of participants in discusion about Women, Non-Men, and Margenilized Group participation in Nepali Local Elections.

In order to change this culture and in view of the fact that electioneering has become very costly, it would be necessary to provide state funding for women and marginalized groups and at the same time provide incentives in the form of state funding to political parties who field women and marginalized groups as candidates. They stressed that all issues are women’s issues and that women’s issue are national issues. Therefore, accountability lies with political parties for achieving political parity in all structures of political parties and state structures as stipulated by the Constitution and various laws including Election Laws.

Steps that could address these issues were discussed as: advocacy on addressing the issue in the draft Integrated Election Act (find current act here), managing Women’s constituency and  Ensuring numbers/percentage of women/excluded group/LGBTI in the  gathbandhan are some of the points to be added

Mr. Ram Chandra Paudel, Senior Leader of Nepali Congress, Mr. Suresh Aale Magar, National Assembly Member, Nepal Communist Party, Maoists, and Mr. Hem Raj Rai, Central Committee Member, Janata Samajbadi Party, expressed their commitments to raise the issue of equal and proportional representation of women in the upcoming local elections in their respective political parties’ discussion. This was also important as Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-lingual society and it was only fair and right that the approach of proportional representation which would also guarantee inclusion should be reflected in elections.

During the floor discussion, participants were of the view that the time to act is now. Women’s substantive representation, and not just in numbers, is important to address the issues of exclusion, marginalization and sustainable development.

Local Elections in Nepal will be held in one day across all districts on the first day of the Nepali Calendar 2078 year. The International date will be April 14, 2022.

In addition, you can read Nepali Newspaper coverage of the panel session here:

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