A comprehensive report on the status of Dalit women in Nepal has been released by IDSN member the Feminist Dalit Organization Nepal (FEDO) with support from IDSN and Womankind. The report details the situation, challenges and recommendations within poverty, education, health, safety, political participation, Dalit women in the media and Dalit girl children in Nepal. It is clear from the report that while progress has been made, immediate and sustained action targeted at Dalit women in Nepal is crucial.

The full report has been submitted to UN Women ahead of the Commission on the Status of Women Beijing +25: Realizing Gender Equality and the Empowerment of all Women and Girls consultation.

The report can be downloaded in full as a PDF here >>

Below is an extract of all the key recommendations in the report:

Recommendations for action on caste and gender justice in Nepal

Poverty Alleviation

  • Government should provide land to the landless Dalit women through formulating, amending and implementing necessary laws, policies and programs.
  • Government should conduct different skill based and employment-oriented programs countrywide particularly targeting Dalit and marginalized women those are backward in terms of employment and entrepreneurship.
  • The People housing Program implementing by the Government should be reached to targeted community in time and the provision should be in place to ensure ownership of Dalit women to the housing.
  • The Government should formulate and enforce the specific programs to ensure the economic rights of Dalit women as defined by constitution, international laws and instruments that Nepal has ratified and in line with Sustainable Development Goals
  • The development agencies also need to have poverty alleviation program meant for Dalit women.

Education and Training of Dalit women

  • To increase the access of Dalit children in education, the scholarship that has been providing by the states should be increased.
  • Government should launch school enrolment campaign targeting Dalit girls.
  • Government should made free education up to secondary, higher level and vocational-technical education for Dalit women those who are deprived of education.
  • Government should include supporting education for the elimination of mal-cultural practices existing in Nepalese society like caste-based untouchability, Chhaupadi, witchcraft and sexual, reproductive health education in the secondary and higher-level education curricula as a mandatory education.
  • Some of the provinces like province 2 and province 6 have started girl child motivating program that are helpful to retain the girls in school. Such program needs to be replicated in other provinces and government of Nepal need to take special measures.

Dalit Women and Health

  • Government should formulate policy and implement in entire country of Nepal to prepare Dalit women health volunteers and provide opportunity.
  • There should be free health treatment for major diseases occurred in Dalit women and Dalit community and accessible.
  • The health insurance program that has been conducting by the Government is not reached to Dalit community and due to weak economic situation Dalit women are unable to participate in the program, so there should be free health insurance for the Dalit women.
  • Government should conduct WASH programs for the Dalit women those are backwarded in terms of health and sanitation.
  • Government should launch special programs targeting safe motherhood, reproductive health, uterine prolapse of Dalit womens.
  • Malnutrituion is a major problem especially among Dalit women and children and the local level government need to identify the malnourished women and take the remedial measures to overcome it.
  • Government should formulate policy and implement in entire country of Nepal to prepare Dalit women health volunteers and provide opportunity.

Violence against Dalit women

  • The main basis of violence is caste and gender-based discrimination. Some measures need to be taken to address them in terms of psychosocial counselling, rehabilitation and compensation.
  • The government do not have disaggregated data of violence against Dalit women, So the research conducting by the government agencies should be Dalit and marginalized women oriented and publicize likewise.
  • Government should Formulate and enforce strong policies and laws particularly to address violence against Dalit women.

Dalit women and armed conflict

  • Dalit women have felt unsafe to file complain against the potential perpetrator because they are in the power and Dalit are getting in/direct threaten from them. Thus, the government has to ensure their safety to file the cases in the process of getting justice.
  • Dalit women have multiple consequent effects of the conflict. The state should identify such effects and provide appropriate remedy to the conflict victim Dalit women.
  • Among the conflict victims, Dalit women are highly vulnerable. The organizations working for the rights of the victims need to understand their venerable situation and give priority to their concerns.

Dalit Women in Power, Decision making and Institutional Mechanisms

  • The election system should be amended to ensure proportional representation of all marginalized communities in the political spheres including Hill and Madhesh Dalit women.
  • The local level election act has ensured the representation of Dalit women in the ward committee, however, local government operation act, 2017 hasn’t defined their role and responsibility. The local government should allocate specific responsibility to make decisions and execute their authority.
  • The structure of major political parties is still exclusionary. They haven’t given space to Dalit women in the party structure. Therefore, the parties should follow the principle of proportional representation and should initiate an effort to develop leadership capacity of Dalit women.
  • The Dalit movement should develop a strategy to mobilize and support elected Dalit women representatives to make changes happen toward Dalit community and play an influential role in the policy formulation processes.

Dalit Women and the Media

  • The governmental owned institutions like National News Agency, Nepal Television, Radio Nepal, and monitoring mechanism like Press Council Nepal and other related departments still are not inclusive. The government should ensure the representation of Dalit women in the state-owned media institution.
  • Elaborate/amend media policies to ensure the participants of Dalit women in the media structure, produce and disseminate contents on Dalit women.
  • Provide scholarships to the Dalit women to study journalism and mass communication.
  • Provide opportunities like; training, on-the job training, and establish a conducive environment for their professional growth of Dalit women in journalism sectors. The media institutions and the organizations working on Dalit issues need to work together to increase the number of journalists and writers from Dalit women.

The girl child

  • To increase the access of Dalit children in education, the scholarship that has been providing by the states should be increased.
  • Due to weak economic condition of Dalit family the children are unable attend the school, so realizing the fact Government should formulate and implement the encouraging programs for the Dalit children to attend school.
  • Among the girl child of Dalits, there is a problem of gender discrimination as a result of that they get less nourishment in the family and they are sent to government schools rather private school. There should be a campaign to raise awareness of anti-gender discrimination at the household level.
  • The government of Nepal used to provide nutrition allowance to under five children of Dalits and now this has been handed over to the local governments and some of them are not providing such allowance, so all local governments need to continue this practice.