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Gender equality

Discrimination and marginalization is widespread in the Nepalese society. Therefore, gender equality is incorporated in all ongoing activities in the Danish development assistance to ensure support to exposed groups i.e., women and ethnic minorities.

Nepal is among the least developed countries in terms of gender equality as measured by the Gender Inequality Index in the UNDP HDI (2014) ranking 145 out of 187 assessed countries.

Between 4,000 and 12.000 girls and women are estimated to be trafficked to India for sexual exploitation every year. Violence against women within the family, economically related discrimination by mother-in-law in the extended family and accusations of witchcraft are also widespread in Nepal. Ethnic, caste and regional discrimination adds further to the weak position of women – Madhesi and Dalit women in the Terai Region are the most marginalized and excluded, whereas high caste hill women the least.

Because of limitations to the legal framework little progress has been made on ground. Informal mechanisms are assisting Nepalese women to getting justice and access to public service, nut even in cases were right are secured, social discrimination and lack of awareness continue to deprive women. However, Debate on gender issues in Nepal is now generally accepted.


Positive Developments

  • A National Action Plan (NAP) on UNSCRs 1325 and 1820 has been developed with the effort from donor communities and engagement of the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction. It has been endorsed by the cabinet and its implementation is underway. 
  • Vigorous work of civil society organizations has resulted in amendment of discriminatory legal provisions and formulations of new legal provisions to address discrimination of women – such as: The possibility of women to seek divorce in cases of violence and abuse, and the right to inherit and claim property from the family of the husband
  • Increased number of women being aware of their rights
  • Increased number of women in decision making bodies
  • Increased number of female parliamentarians- and politicians

Gender and education

Denmark supported the Government of Nepal’s “School sector Reform Programme” (SSRP), where specific attention was given to gender and equality issues. To increase enrolment of children from discriminated and marginalized groups e.g. Dalits and girls from poorer segments, scholarships and special incentive programmes have been launched. Scholarships have significantly contributed in regard to access and gender parity in basic education. SSRP gives special provisions for maternity and paternity leave, infant feeding breaks, and reduced eligibility period for promotion of teachers from disadvantaged groups. The Danish support intend to increase recruitment of female teachers and lower the rates of female literacy, which still are far lower those of male across all dimensions of disaggregation. 

Gender issues are mainstreamed in all the development programs and projects supported by the Embassy.

Responsible desk officer at the Danish Embassy:

Manju Lama