KATHMANDU, April 22: Prospective female candidates for the local elections said on Friday that there are still lots of obstacles for women to enter politics. They said challenges will remain unless they fight collectively to ensure representation of more women leaders in politics.
“The barriers, however challenging, that stop women from entering into politics can be easily overcome if both women leaders and parties are committed,” said Member of Parliament, Kunti Shahi while speaking at a two-day national conference entitled 'Towards Planet 50:50-Enabling Women's Leadership and Representation in Local Governance'.
Women leaders from across the country have gathered in the capital for the conference jointly organized by the Election Commission, the United Nations and Sajha Abhiyan.
At the function, Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav urged all political parties to encourage women's candidacy in all posts as far as possible. “We need to put an end to the existing socio-economic and cultural discrimination against women,” said CEC Yadav.
UN Resident Coordinator Valerie Julliand said that quotas help to increase representation of women but it is when knowledge is put into practice that changes come. “Transforming policy into practice highlights the tangible challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. At the end of it all, we need to have women who want to come to the table - this requires everyone supporting women," said Julliand.
The government has announced May 14 as the date for the election of local bodies and preparations are underway. The local bodies include 481 Rural Municipalities, 246 Municipalities, 13 Sub- Metropolitan Cities and 4 Metropolitan Cities. The upcoming elections will ensure at least 13,360 women being elected in decision making position in 6,680 wards.
Over 300 women leaders from all 75 districts discussed how they could take maximum benefit from the opportunities provided by the new constitution and the electoral laws. Among the participants, 13 will contest for the post of mayor, 16 for deputy mayor, 5 for ward chair and 4 for ward member.