With First Female President, Nepal Celebrates Women’s Day By Calling for ATT Compliance, End to Armed Violence Against Women
By: Shobha Shrestha, Founder/Executive Chair of Women for Peace and Democracy Nepal (WPD Nepal)
Every year, people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day by marching in parades, chanting slogans, and holding panels and events for the sake of women’s rights, demands, and the call for gender equality. This year, the world celebrated International Women’s Day with various events marking the many social, economic and political achievements of women.
Women’s Day in Nepal was more remarkable this year than in years past. For the first time in the history of the country, Nepal has a female head of the state. We also have a woman ruling the national Nepalese Parliament – where more than 50 percent of the parliamentarians are male.
Various organizations focusing on women and their empowerment organized programs throughout the country to celebrate Women’s Day.
Women for Peace and Democracy (WPD) Nepal – a Control Arms member organization – was among the institutions celebrating womankind. WPD Nepal came out with a unified voice in calling for the ratifying, strengthening and implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). At its rally, WPD Nepal also urged stricter governance over the illegal arms trade in order to stop violence against women.
WPD Nepal’s event was organized jointly by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and National Women Commission. It began at Bhrikutimandap and ended at Shantibakita Ratnapark in Kathmandu, the capital city.
Big banners bearing messages like, “Support Arms Trade Treaty and Stop Women Violence”, drew the attention of the thousands who were in attendance. The banners made it all the way to the front of the City Hall, where President Bidhya Devi Bhandari – along with parliamentarians, security personals, and other government officials – attended a special program organized by the Women Ministry.
WPD Nepal participated in the mass rally not only to mark International Women’s Day but also to galvanize other organizations working for the welfare of women. The main objective of participating in the rally was to inform women and the stakeholders as well that effectively governing arms and weapons can reduce the chances of domestic violence – because a great deal of the domestic violence women experience occurs due to arms.
WPD Nepal participated in the rally to deliver a strong message about the relationship between arms and gender. Women are more under threat than men when it comes about the illegal possession of arms. But weapons threaten men as well. Because of this unfortunate truth, International Women’s Day was the ideal day to deliver the message of the advantages of abiding by the ATT.
International Women’s Day was the proper day to deliver the message of the advantage of abiding with the ATT. Sadly, the world listens to women more carefully on 8 March than any other day of the year –it is, therefore, the essential day to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in making their communities safer.