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Working poor women continue to face gender-based discrimination in Nepal

Ashok Ghimire, KATHMANDU: A group of working women attending a seminar here today shared their tales which has these things in common; under-evaluation of their labour, gender-based discrimination in their wages and control of their spouse of their income.
In a seminar organized by Homenet Nepal, an organization working for the welfare of the working poor people, especially women, they univocally called for equality and dignity in their work. The working poor are working people whose incomes fall below a given poverty line due to low-income jobs.
The Constitution of Nepal has ensured right to employment to all the citizens and right to equality. Furthermore, both the husband and wife have equal right to the inheritance of parental property and household affairs. And the national charter also ensures equality to both men and women beneficiaries for the social security scheme.
Despite the Constitution advancing the cause of gender in several areas in the country and a growing number of women joining the workforce in the last two decades, working women especially in the informal sector are yet to get equal treatment.
A study conducted by Homenet Nepal showed that there was 30 per cent of gap in the average income of women and men. Men earned Rs 19,464, in a month while women Rs 13,630.
Add to that, unsafe work place, sexual exploitation and gender-based de-motivation among others had put working poor women in a sorry state.
Speaking in the programme, Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizen Parbat Gurung underscored the need for taking the issue of right to equality as a campaign to end the disparity against the women labourers.
Reaffirming his utmost support and commitment to establish the rights of the working poor women, he asserted that the ill-traditions and outdated values had created problems for many women in our country.

Similarly, Homenet Nepal’s Executive Director Om Thapaliya argued that until the women’s labour was honoured duly, the women labourers would not be able to rise above their circumstances and be catapulted to the leadership roles.
Likewise, women right activist Renu Adhikari argued that until issues such as the women’s identity, right over her body and right to labour were established, the cases of gender-based disparity against women workers would not see an end.
She fumed that the women’s right issue had become ‘project-oriented’ for many people and underlined the need to spearhead the working poor women’s rights related issues.
General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT)’s former General-Secretary Umesh Upadhyay lamented that although women had encouraging representation in the political sector lately in the country, there was no positive reflection of the same in the labour market. RSS

Published Date: Monday, December 2nd, 2019 | 08:07 AM

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