Joint Mechanism for Political Party Strengthening (JOMPOPS) supported an intra-party programme on promoting young women in politics last week in the eastern part of Nepal in Illam district.
Around 66 local members of the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal party were sensitized on gender issues including on the current constitutional provisions on women. Local women members were also inspired to take up leadership roles in the district.
Following the programme, the local leaders of the party including the district chairperson have signed a public declaration committing to work towards promoting women in leadership roles inside the party in Illam district.
Ongoing JOMPOPS Campaign on Gender Equality
JOMPOPS has been working together to promote gender equality inside political parties since April 2013. In addition to the multiparty initiatives, the platform also supports intra-party activities at local level. These intra-party activities help to meet specific needs of the JOMPOPS member parties; all these parties have different historical backgrounds and organizational structures.
Comparatively, the representation of women is better in older parties like the Nepali Congress and the Unified Marxist Leninist party. Three JOMPOPS members including the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal which are ethnic-based regional parties have low inclusion of women. This is also because these parties are based in the Tarai region dominated by the Madhesi-ethnic community which is still largely conservative about women’s role in society.
Inspiring young women
The participants, including eleven male members, were informed about the provisions of the new Constitution; this Constitution has secured many important rights for women such as citizenship through mother, equal property rights for women and men, and increased representation of women in decision-making bodies.
JOMPOPS Steering Committee member Renu Yadav, who is currently the Chair of JOMPOPS, shared her personal story to inspire local women party members to take up leadership roles. Yadav has been elected as parliamentarian twice and also served as the Minister many times. She talked about the challenges she faced during her political career as well as shared her insights on dealing with them. She emphasized that confidence is the key to excel as the political leader.
Young women participants shared their challenges inhibiting them from taking leadership positions. They shared that after listening to Yadav’s story, they realized that such challenges were common and they could overcome them by organizing together.
JOMPOPS Steering Committee member Arjun Thapa talked about skills necessary to succeed in politics, especially to take up leadership roles. He also pointed out to the local men leaders that it is their duty to train young women politicians. He said that since there are not many women members in leadership positions, men leaders have to take up the responsibility to groom emerging women leaders.
The participants discussed about the plan to increase women in leadership roles inside the party in Illam district. They also requested the JOMPOPS Steering Committee members – senior position holders inside the party — to facilitate support to their local initiatives from the central level.
The participants have agreed that they should focus on increasing female party membership at local level. They have also emphasized on the need to conduct regular training on party policies for women as well as on creating a strong fund-raising mechanism to support women membership.