The Constitution of Nepal is based on the principles of equality. In practice however this is not the case and a recent study undertaken by NGO’s with the co-operation of the Ministry of Women “found that 118 clauses/sections/rules in their entirety have discriminatory legal provisions.”
-Source: Discriminatory Laws in Nepal and their Impact on Women (Aug. 2000)
Following is an example of some Nepali laws that discriminate against Women (please select each area to open the corresponding page):
In Nepal citizenship is not automatic at birth. Women do not have the right to transfer their citizenship to their children, and thus if a child is born to a foreign father, he/she cannot be granted Nepali citizenship. Without citizenship, a person cannot gain employment, cannot access medical and cannot own property. A child who is born to rape will face a lengthy and complicated task in gaining citizenship, as their mother is not able to transfer her citizenship to them.
The Women’s Foundation assists a number of women with their citizenship issues. The Women’s Foundation provides legal assistance through their network of lawyers, without which it is very difficult for women to get their cases heard in court.
This is the story of a woman at the shelter who, with WF assistance, was able to take her citizenship case to court ……….
Lila is living at the shelter and WF is currently involved in assisting her with her citizenship case. Lila was abandoned by her husband and does not have citizenship. As she is married, she must have the authorization of her husband if she is to be granted citizenship. After having abandoned her, her husband refuses to acknowledge her and without citizenship she will be unable to find any decent employment. In order to get citizenship, she has to prove that her circumstances should allow for this and without free legal assistance, she would not have been able to do anything about her citizenship problems.
According to the existing Nepali law on rape, if a married woman is raped, her husband automatically becomes her ex-husband. Thus she loses any marital rights, such as access to property. In most instances the rape victim will suffer rejection from her family and community.
WF has assisted many women and children who are victims of rape and have been rejected by their families and communities.
This is the story of a young woman who was raped and found shelter with WF…….
Sima comes from a small village in Eastern Nepal. When she was 16 years old she was sexually abused by her schoolteacher in the village. Her family and fellow villagers did not support her and she was constantly harassed. She suffered emotionally as a result. In 2000 Sima managed to escape from the village and made her way to the Women’s Foundation office in Jhapa district. She begged for assistance and was brought to Kathmandu where she lives at the shelter. Sima is currently completing Grade 10.
We do not have law for domestic violence. Beating of women by their husband is very common. Our one research report r in western part of Nepal show that 73% women were victim of domestic violence. Here is one story of women.
Victim of Domestic violence :
Nirmila Sitoula –Nirmila is marriage with 2 children. Her parents arranged her marriage when she was 15 years old. (She shared while crying) – My husband is very valiant. He yell me, beat me with out reason. He do not help me in household work, He force me to work even I am very tired. (She explain one accident while crying and showing her scars) I was bringing water from well. He was sitting in the Khat (wooden bed) he was smoking cigarette but the fire on the cigarette went out. In a big pot I boiled water with husk for cows in front of our house, water was boiling. He asked me to bring fire as quickly as he could snap or he would hurt me and then he snapped but it was not possible to reach there in that time. He came and poured on me that boiling water. I cried very loudly and fainted. When I was a wake, I was in hospital. I know my neighbor bring me to hospital and call the WF members. The WF helps me in hospital and paid my hospital bills. They bring my husband at police custody for one month. Now I learn form WF how to produce good vegetables and sell in the market. So I am running my family independent. Our house is happy and safe house for us now a days. My husband is not any longer with me
According to Nepali law women and men, at birth, have equal entitlement to inheriting their parent’s property. However if a woman marries, she gives up her inheritance right to her parents property and is entitled to half her husband’s property. This is clearly impractical in a country where social norms dictate that women are expected to marry.