Conferences on Gender Mainstreaming in Provincial Planning

Saathi organized conference on the Localization of CEDAW Commitments: Gender Mainstreaming in Provincial Governments” in province no 2, 3 and 4. The conference was designed in the context of provincial governments drafting their first ever five-year plan.   It was held in Pokhara, the headquater of  10-11 Janaury

The aim of the conference was to sensitize officials involved in provincial planning about the CEDAW provisions and gender mainstreaming concept making the periodic provincial plan being draft further gender responsive.

The conference was able to garner commitments for the gender responsive planning from the likes of Chief Minister of the provinces, members of provincelegislatives, commissioners at policy and planning commissions.

The conference also included the topic on right to information lining it with the empowerment of women in province and local level. Yesoda Timsina, commissioner at the National Information Commission herself acted as a trainer.

First conference was held at province no 4 capital, Pokhara on 10-11 January. Speaking in the inaugural session, the speakers and deputy speakers of the province legislature assembly, ministers of the province government and provincial lawmakers were in agreement that deep-rooted patriarchal thoughts and gender biases continue to reflect in our policies, plans and interventions in every level of governments. Therefore the summoned all people to think more consciously and act more sensitively, plan more inclusively for gender equality and women empowerment in their province.

Speakers and Deputy speaker of Gandaki province ( province no 4) assembly, Chief Secretary of the Gandaki Province Government, high ranking officials involved provincial government planning expressed their commitments for gender mainstreaming in policy and plans they are going to draft.

Speaking at the inauguration session of the conference at Janakpur, the capital of province no 2, on 13-14 January, Lalbabu Raut said that his government is well aware about the gender mainstreaming in their planning.  He said that the province government has already started implementing the program related to safety, security and empowerment of the women and girls.

In the program organized in Hetauda, the capital of province no 3 on 28-29 January, the speaker at the province assembly Sanu Kumar Shrestha said that provincial planning needs to consider the gender mainstreaming issue seriously. He said that gender issues should be given due attention for the advancement of women which is linked to the development of society.

Challenges for women empowerment, safety and security

  • Low level of awareness and little access to information for the women
  • Lacking policy and programs in line with the provincial and local governance structure
  • No updated data and information on local and province level governance
  • Local and province governments are still unclear about their roles and responsibilities
  • Harmful traditional practices pose huge barriers in gender development.
  • Low participation of women in the policy making level.
  • The trainings being provided as gender empowerment reinforce traditional gender roles
  • Lack of easy access to law
  • Adverse geography and issues related to women mobility hinders the access to justice
  • Wage discrimination, women forced to work during pregnancy fearing to lose job
  • Province level policy related to sexual and reproductive health rights yet to come into effect
  • Lack of effective monitoring and evaluation
  • No fixed percentage of women representation in provincial and local government
  • Practical difficulty in obtaining citizenship in mother’s name
  • The public services are not women and disable friendly
  • Social and cultural mores are gender biased
  • Care works provided by women at home are not counted as economic activities.
  • Security agencies still do not take women’s issue with due seriousness

Issues that need to be included in province planning

  • Regulation on buying and selling of alcohol
  • Program for economic empowerment of women
  • Developing an industry in every rural municipality
  • Running Campaign against harmful traditional practice
  • Establishment and management of safe shelter homes for violence survivor women and girls
  • Livelihood training and family reintegration provisions
  • Additional support for women living with disability and women having severe mental condition
  • Training for equal development of women and men
  • Establishment of Hotline Service at Chief Minister’s Office
  • Assurance of reproductive health rights
  • Provision of obtaining skills and language for the women opting for foreign employment
  • Women and children office should also be at the province level
  • Special programs for the capacity development of local government representative
  • Lifting the deadline for FIR registration for the case of conflict related sexual violence
  • Provide interim relief and due compensation to the women and girls affected during the conflict
  • Adoption of Second National Plan drafted to implement UNSCR 1325 and ensure sustainable peace in the country
  • Awareness Campaign against trafficking in person
  • Feeding the right information about foreign employment
  • Checking the incident of trafficking going on in the garb of foreign employment
  • Provision of psycho-social support and counselling for the women and girls survivors of trafficking and violence
  • Establishing rehabilitation centers and ensuring due resources for the purpose
  • Promoting substantive equality through changes in behaviors and application of gender development approach
  • Promotion of free and inclusive education for all
  • Addressing the security concern of girls child beyond the school
  • Encouraging breaking the culture of silence attached with sexual violence cases, establish secure complaint registering mechanism and launch awareness campaign
  • Ensuring access to safe abortion in the complex pregnancy cases and pregnancy resulting from rape
  • Access to sexual and reproductive services
  • Women should have freedom to choose their life partner on their own and should full rights over their body
  • Women rights to property should be ensured
  • Dis-aggregated data based on Gender, age, caste , religion, marital status should be made mandatory for all the program and policies