ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights and defeat poverty for all.

Women's Rights

Women's rights theme primarily seeks to reorient power relations between men and women so that gender equality can be achieved.

Gender equality is understood as equal status and ability of both men and women to exploit productive resources and to achieve freedom from violence and discriminations.

We bear in mind that gender equality essentially calls for actions to level the men-dominated playing field by improving the condition and position of women. At the centre of the fight against poverty is the identification of the most excluded communities, among whom women top the category. Women are poorer because they face difficulties to acquire capability to improve their living conditions.

Although men too have that difficulty because of various socio-political as well economic factors, women are doubly disadvantaged because of the added burden of patriarchal institutions that work against them.

These institutions impede women's ability to enjoy public life and limit their choices to negotiate their positions according to their own interests and needs. Consequently, they have nearly lost control over their bodies, eroded confidence, and are in a state of compromised citizenship in a real sense. In addition, women's rights remain underdeveloped, unfulfilled, and unattainable because some special conditions or circumstances that uniquely affect women are not taken into account. In order to establish women's rights, which is the priority concern, we seek to combat both formal and informal institutions of power that marginalise women. While we seek to empower women by attending to their basic human needs, building or consolidating their coalitions, and fighting patriarchy on one hand, we will be equally engaged with government and policy advocates at the national level seeking policy reforms and their effective implementation on the other.

Above all, we seek to engage in the constitution-making process not only to ensure women's effective participation and voice but also to guarantee the expansion and protection of women’s human rights.

Fighting structural and physical violence as well as legal and social discriminations will remain vanguard of women’s rights initiative. While commitments to improve women's status are definitely on the rise, there is a serious concern whether these rhetoric are commensurate with fund allocation.

One serious impediment to women's rights in Nepal remains the lack of gender-based scrutiny of foreign funds because 'aid' has largely remained gender-neutral over the years.

Since this is an important tool to realise national, bilateral, multilateral, as well as (individual) organisational commitments, we will gear up initiatives in 'Aid Effectiveness' by using a gender perspective. For effective results, programming in women’s rights will be made mandatory across themes and Development Initiatives.

All themes and initiatives will have definite women-centric objectives and indicators with all long-term partners developing plans to promote women’s rights both as stand-alone as well as cross-cutting initiatives.

Key Actions

  • Strengthen the capacity of women's coalitions to enable rural women to claim their rights and fight institutions of patriarchy
  • Advocate, campaign, and collaborate with like-minded institutions and movements to ensure women's access and control over productive resources
  • Promote and strengthen women's leadership and through them ensure constructive engagement in constitution-making process
  • Advocate to end and take actions against discriminatory legal provisions and violence against women in line with CEDAW's provisions
  • Increase gender-based scrutiny of foreign aid to mitigate negative gender implication towards greater aid Effectiveness
  • Advocate to secure women's right to food and livelihoods
  • Reduce women's vulnerabilities to HIV infection and violence by working in their intersection
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