Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Women empowerment: Policies and Participation

Women and women related issues have always been a serious subject matter from NGOs, to parliament and political parties to ministries. In context of Nepal, after the democratic movement of 1990 AD people thought that there would be the establishment of newer Nepal where people of all sex, age, caste, and geographical area will be given equal priority. Considering to those hopes, certain law were made regarding those aspects that remained only as law but was never formulated. Especially in the case of women and children, the government and people was always irresponsible. That law related with women was either insufficient or not well performed in works. Despite being in the track of development, Nepali women do not have equal share in the development process.

As per the constitution of 1990AD, a provision for 5% seats in the parliamentary election was made compulsion for all the political parties. Although this provision was made for encouraging women's participation in political sector they were still lagging behind in service and decision making sectors. Despite the provision made by constitution, only 3.9% women were elected on the election of 1991AD, which increased to 5% in 1999AD. But even those 5% of women were unable to represent the women occupying 'half the sky' of the country. Women were still deprived of proper education, job opportunities and were compelled to get involved within the domestic works. They were under their father or husband as there was no law that addressed the violence done against them. Many incidents of domestic violence, girl trafficking and social humiliations were seen and heard but there was even the lack of proper punishment for those people.

Now, after one decade and half of that democratic movement, various laws have been made to address women related issues. Recently, the declaration has been made by the government, which states that 33% seat has been reserved for women in parliament and all other government offices as well. The question is in its own place either that declaration will be implemented or not but it has been proved as a milestone in the development of women's status and also as an opportunity if they can show their ability. With the development of the country, females are also getting education facilities. As soon as the government declared free education up to secondary level for women, the parents also admitted their girl child in Government schools. It has made the newer generation more educated, competent and confident. They are able to tackle with any problems and are also able to compete for the various posts for work with men. Similarly, the position of women has been uplifted after the establishment of National Women's commission in 2001 AD, which focuses on their welfare and progress.

With the increment of pace towards development, it has been realized that women are equally able and competent to walk along with men. Women empowerment has always remained as a basic gender issue which is now increasing with their participation on the decision making level and the policies made for it. Participation on education and the opportunities has made them sensitized them about their rights and capacities which really is a path shower towards development.

Female Education: A First Step to Women Empowerment

The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful women...
In this famous saying the two terms education and empowerment are used as if they are inter-related. While illuminating their interrelation, the capacity developed by encouraging women in such a way that they can influence the decisions in political, economic, social and cultural sector is women empowerment. To make influence in those decisions, they should be logically correct and active. For that purpose there should be proper knowledge, power and willingness to do any short of works. To have proper knowledge, one should be educated, well trained and have proper experience of various works. A person should get full support and freedom from the family as well as the family should be able to afford the expenses required for proper education to get the power. Similarly, until and unless a person is conceptually clear and well educated, s/he may not have willingness to work due to the lack of idea. So, at last all these three influencing factors, knowledge, power and willingness to do work are related with the education.
Female education means not only providing the formal education for the females but it even comprehend to provide proper guidance, knowledge and skills as well. First of all, Education itself is the fuel to self-determination and confidence to live life the fullest. It provides the proper concepts, logics or ideas about various subject matters. Now, while talking about female education it really is one of the influencing factor in making the self-dependent livelihood and respectful place for women in society. Most of the female in our country are dominated and are backward because they are not educated. If the society is educated, there won’t be any discrimination on the basis of caste and gender. If a woman is educated and well trained she can get lot of job opportunity, can get well-paid job and get well family while marrying as well. Her decisions will also be given place in the family and society also. That’s why for empowering women female education is the major necessity.
Now, It can be said, W for wise, O for optimistic, M for matured, E for empowered and N noble. No it's not definition of women but can be the future of women and it's for sure that education is the right path toward that bright sunshine future. As education gives positive ideas, is leaded with experience and trainings and teaches humbleness too, those words to define women come to be true if they are given education. Especially in the developing country like ours, gender discrimination prevails in most of the places. That’s why, because of poverty, lack of infrastructure as well; women are not getting the proper education facility. But now as the pace of development is faster than before, we can hope for the better future. Infrastructure development will result to the better education and that education will make women’s future as sure as their full forms. This way, the day isn’t too far when this saying will be the reality and practiced all over.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I am My Sir's Son!

I was nine when my parents died in a car accident on the highway. They were heading for Kathmandu from Biratnagar- our home place to search boarding school for me. After their demise, nobody took much care of me. Thus, I was sent to SOS Children Village in Itahari which was established especially for orphans and now, I was an orphan. Destiny had it for me.

After reaching there I was able to console myself thinking that I was not the only one who was deprived of the warmth, love and care of parents. My routine and other's routine were same and so was our longing for love. We were given equal care but what can replace the memories of parents? I had common mother and common house but something was different from others. Others didn't show any sign of sadness of not having parents or may be I didn't notice it myself but the memories of my parents haunted me even after the years of that heartbreaking incident.

When I was above the teen age, I had to move from Children Village to Youth Village. The support, emotional attachments and brotherhood didn't allow me to leave the place easily but I had to move by rule. From there I was transferred to youth Village of koteshwor, which proved to be one major turn of my life later on. From that time onwards, my life started taking different route, that single move contributed to change my life dramatically!

I was here not only to stay inside the premise but also to continue my further studies. So, as soon as I arrived here, a notice was given that I would be joining Kathmandu University. With much of enthusiasm and excitement to study in the best university of the country, I started preparing for my entrance. Within a week I was inside the examination hall, which was physics lab- it seemed so. I was giving my entrance test for the enrollment in new session where the question was easier than I had expected. I was looking around the room when I saw the invigilator...
"Oh My Gosh! How can he look exactly like my dad?" I asked myself in surprise.
"Same nose, same lips, same height and ... looking almost like a twin brother of my father."

I was giving my test and examining the appearance of the invigilator at the same time. My eyes got stuck on him for long time and finally he noticed them. He didn't know why was I looking so strangely at him. May be he thought I was searching opportunity to cheat his eyes and copy from others.
So, he asked me "Oye! Haven't you seen invigilators in examination hall? Keep doing your job without moving your head."

My God! I was dumbstruck when I realized that even his voice was same to my father's when I last heard him. All these similarities may be just a coincidence but the voice? Now my willingness to join the university became even stronger for I wanted to be close with him, talk to him and say how much alike he is with my dad.

I returned back to my place after entrance exam but my mind was still hovering on him. I started writing a diary from that day onwards which was more about my memories and that invigilator than my daily activities of feelings. After one week I saw the result of entrance on University's website and knew that I was among the selected ones. That day I wrote diary literally in a form of novel, which could easily show that my late dad was my past and sir was in the present.

One month later, I was in his class drawing his sketch. I wasn't giving proper ear to what he was saying but I just stared at him. Science was not the one I was made for and thank god he was a language teacher! He thought I was good at writing skills ... may be I had improved by writing daily on my diary! Because of the same reason, he included me in the newsletter team as well. We got close and started talking about personal stuffs as well during the time of newsletter publication. Then he knew that I was an orphan and started showing his sympathy but all I ever needed was his love and support as a guardian and as a father figure.

On my second year, I started to stay in hostel. I realized how close I was with him when we had one-month long vacation. Day-by-Day I started making reasons to meet him on private. Sometimes we talked about the class and sometimes about the newsletter but he never asked me anything about my past. May be he thought remembering it would hurt me. But I wanted him to know how important he was for me.

One day I took my diary in my class. We had a break after his class and I wanted to use this break as an opportunity to open up myself. That day he was doing his works on the class itself and permitted us to leave before him. I was staying at the first bench that day so that I could leave my diary over there and he could find it easily. As I had wanted he saw that diary after I had left the class he took it with him and returned it to me the next day. I thought he would read it but he showed up no signs of it.

After one week we met one the newsletter room. Then he said, "Why don't you publish your diary? It can be a good combination of diary and memoir. You write really well."
He said nothing about my personal feelings scattered all over the diary but I was glad to know that at least he read it. I was about to leave the room when he murmured" Why didn't you say you loved me like a son loved his father? Even I would love to be loved."

Tears fell off my eyes and without thinking twice I hugged him.

"My wife died during labor pain and I lost my child without touching him. If he had survived, he would have been of your age."

I am studying literature at present and Sir is our Head Of Department; I still call him sir despite of being a legal son now He adopted me legally and made me a part of his life and now I am under his guidance and warmth, which I was seeking for. I got my diary published and university awarded me with the best literary award for student. Thanks to sir, my dad, if he were not there I would never be here!

Only few people get such a wonderful life again, even after loosing both parents. Luckily I was just one of them!