Women Leaders Vow To End Discrimination, Seek Equal Rights

By Yuba Nath Lamsal

KATHMANDU, March 15 (Bernama) -- A six-day World Women Conference kicked off in Kathmandu Monday in which women leaders vowed to fight to end exploitation and discrimination against women ensuring equal rights and opportunities for sustainable development.

The United Women's Association, a joint body of sister organisations of eight major Nepalese political parties, hosted the conference, which attracted resentatives from 46 countries including India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Netherlands, Burkina Faso, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Speaker of Nepalese parliament Onsari Gharti inaugurated the conference asking women not to remain confined to domestic chores but move ahead "shoulders to shoulders with their male counterparts."

"The constitution of Nepal has guaranteed women the right to hold the post of president, vice-president, speaker, prime minister, chief justice or any other top posts of the country, which should be duly utilised by Nepalese women," said

Gharti, who is Nepal's first female speaker. Nepal also has a woman president Bidya Devi Bhandari

Meanwhile Shila Hamal, Asia Pacific Coordinator of World Women's Conference, said women from across the world were suffering from various problems such as poverty, discrimination, sexual exploitation, domestic iolence and many other forms of violence and that the conference was organised to fight all these problems in a united manner.

Binda Pande, one of the members of the organizing committee said that Nepal's constitution has guaranteed at least 33 per cent participation of women in all sectors including parliament, cabinet and other decision-making level but it is yet to be fully implemented.

"The conference is an opportunity for women activists of all parties to work together for the rights of Nepalese women, despite their different ideological and political leaning and orientation," she said.

According to the central bureau of statistics, women constitute 51.4 per cent of Nepal's total population.

The six-day conference will come up with a declaration on various aspects of women's rights and development and will adopt the joint action plan for women developments in Nepal.

-- BERNAMA

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