March 9, 2013 was a beautiful day and sprits of those attending the International Women’s Day Celebration hosted by America Nepal Women’s Association (ANWA) were in high rise. On the occasion of this year's International Women's Day celebration under the theme, “The Gender- Agenda: Gaining Momentum “members discussed and raised concern on violence against women. Some of the ANWA founding members who attended the Fourth Women Conference in Beijing, China remembered a statement made to the Fourth World Women Conference in Beijing 1995, the United Nation General Secretary Boutros Boutros-Ghali, “Violence against women is a universal problem and it must be condemn universally”.
Violence against women is a widespread problem in Nepalese society. Male domination and female subordination created by the patriarchal society perpetuates women suffering, where their voices are unheard in a society of silence and acceptance. Members also replicated ANWA mission, vision and objective to work towards protection and promotion of women’s right. Members and volunteers shared their stories on violence against women that included domestic violence of Nepali community in the USA. Each member of ANWA has been working as an Agent to the organization on taking calls, counseling and referring to the appropriate authorities regarding Domestic Violence cases. In 2012 ANWA coordinated with ASHA for Women DC based domestic violence organization for Domestic Violence networking and referral.
ANWA observed rampant domestic violence issues in Washington Metro area. Nepalese women are going through the same kind of domestic violence but in different forms, here it is more mental and emotional abuses then physical violence. Due to Diversity Visa Lottery number of Nepali community is significantly increasing. They always seek support and direction Therefore; ANWA decided to coordinate and network with different DC based South Asian organizations that have expertise in different sectors so that ANWA can refer the clients to the specialized organizations for specific service.
The following statement on the occasion of International Women’s Day was issued:
• ANWA condemns Violence against Women in any forms.
• ANWA shows it solidarity to hundreds of protesters who have gathered outside the prime minister’s residence in Nepal to protest against violence against women in Nepal. ANWA joins them in solidarity to demanding the government punish those involved in crimes against women and that authorities do more to protect women in Nepal.
• ANWA members join millions of people in India and the world in the turmoil against the gang rape and consequent death of the college student in Delhi, India.
• ANWA will continuously work to protect and promote women’s rights through awareness raising programs, talk programs, providing counseling services, etc.
• ANWA members note that although women have begun to play an important role in conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peace-building, they are still under-represented in decision-making in regard to conflict. Therefore, ANWA decided to network between conflict resolution organizations in Washington Metro area.
Program concluded by beautiful poem recited by Mrs. Bhawani Sharma regarding women’s right.