International Women’s Day is a day of festivity as well as reflection to commemorate and discuss the rights women have had to fight for, and the injustice they still need to battle. The Nepalese women in Ottawa were also a group among thousands worldwide to celebrate this significant event. The program was organized by Ms. Radhna Basnyat, NRNA-ICC Women Deputy Coordinator. Nepali women gathered in the Nepal Embassy of Canada, Ottawa to discuss the value this day holds.
Females from all three generations from 16 to 72 years came together and shared their personal experiences on why women should be considered equal and what the next steps are to create equity and equality between men and women in Nepal and beyond. The Chair of the program, Radha Basnyat, welcomed all participants including 3 senior mothers from Nepal (Ganga Maya Dahal, 72, Ambika K.C., 70 and Rekha Shrestha, 71). On behalf of the Nepal Government, Minister Counselor of Nepal Embassy of Canada, Ottawa, Mr. Tara Pokharel expressed his best wishes to Nepali women in their progress and prosperity securing their rights. He also emphasized that women in Canada have way more privileges than women in Nepal.
In addition, women in Canada have seen hardships in Nepal and also bearing in mind the privileges they have enjoyed they can analyze options and bring change for the women in Nepal. All participants had expressed their views. Dr. Ishara Mahat mentioned that we should channel our resources in order to enhance the capacities and of grass root organizations so that we can institutionalize the needs and priority of women who are marginalized. Mrs. Manju Bhattarai spoke about the importance of education for women. Mrs. Tara Rai talked about bringing awareness to the importance of women in society starting with our own families. Tara Upreti highlighted that there is a serious women’s rights violation in Nepal.
Reshma Dahal compared the rights of women in Canada and Nepal and shared that women in Nepal need to start fighting for their rights just as Canadian women did during the 1920s. She also emphasized on the importance of equity, needing to educate not just women but men so both genders know the value that women have and the knowledge they can spread. She also mentioned that assessment of equity should be based on fair and avoidable circumstances.
Radha Basnet said, in order to create justice, national and international aid has to be given to prevent abuse, violence and trafficking of women, women especially in rural areas must be educated and shown that women are no less than men, representation of women from local to national private and government bodies is needed and without women being unified, expected change in the society may not be materialized.
In summary, they expressed, for example, due to the cultural norms that many Nepalese are raised with, there is more attachment and happiness when a boy is born into that family. Such cultural unintentionally reactions must be judged by ourselves, and we must change our own behavior before we can change others. It is evident that change needs to happen.
International Women’s Day, was very valuable as a reminder for the rights women have achieved and has been a motivation to encourage Ottawa Nepalese Women to make a change for the better. At last, Ms. Basnet thanked all attendees who came with their insight and knowledge and shared their views on positive change, which was the main reason of this successful and inspiring celebration. She also thanked Reshma Dahal for highlighting the important points for women rights from a youth perspective. She also expressed her special thanks to Embassy of Nepal for providing the venue and snacks for the participants.