Women’s March in Kathmandu to protest against gender inequality (Photo Feature)

Kathmandu, Nepal

Various people (men and women) gathered in Basantapur for a Women’s March – a symbolic protest to shine light upon and to end all forms of gender inequalities. The rally was organised within the Brihat Nagarik Andolan, an alliance of members of the civil society to protest against various forms of social and political injustices – and on Friday, featured a march from Basantapur to Singha Durbar.

While protesting against all forms of gender inequality, two recent events have further sparked the debate of women’s rights in Nepal recently:

Rape/Murder of Bhagirathi:

Last week, the body of 17-year-old Bhagarathi Bhatta from Dogada Kedar Rural Municipality of Baitadi, who had gone to school , was found in a dreadful condition. 

According to police, the girl was suspected to have been raped before being killed. The body was found half-naked. The clothes of the deceased were torn and there was blood in the underwear. 

The incident, a remnant of the unsolved rape and murder case of Nirmala Panta in 2018 had members of the civil society demand a safer space for women, and stricter laws against rapes as a deterrent.

Proposed Laws for women under-40 to obtain family and ward permission before travelling:

Earlier this week, the Department of Immigration prepared an amendment draft to the Immigration Procedure-2065 BS which discriminated against women going abroad on visit (tourist) visas.

The Department proposed amending the existing procedure with a provision that women under the age of 40, who have no relatives in the destination country and are going to Africa and Gulf countries for the first time, should procure recommendation of the local level authorities or a letter of approval from their family.

Both incidents highlighted the disparity in treatment of men and women within Nepal’s society – and called for a mass movement against such practices.