We threw away monarchy easily, but changing patriarchal mindset will certainly take some time and hard work.”- Shivamaya Tumbahangphe
The idea of “patriarchy” occurs through inequality at different levels across the home and workplace, but also through law and state levels. Over the decades and till this day, politics is promoted as the domain of men, and women have largely been excluded from political dialogue. While women continue to be excluded from leadership positions, issues concerning women will inevitably continue to be neglected. With the recent uproar on the issue where deputy speaker Shivamaya Tumbahangphe resigned from her post for being elected as the new speaker of the HoR, the question arises on the enactment of progressive nature of Constitution of Nepal regarding women’s participation in politics and decision making roles.
Tumbahangphe holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Tribhuwan and also has been as a Communist leader in Eastern Nepal, she has been active in politics for over 40 years. Deputy Speaker Tumbahangphe is a qualified, competent, and experienced leader, but after not receiving support from her own party, she decided to leave the position even after gathering 201 votes in her favor and 58 votes against her for the speaker’s post.
While the constitution supports women empowerment, unless women have the opportunity to contribute equally in the spheres of the political domain, empowerment cannot be fully achieved. Women’s capability to take charge of affairs and making decisions are still refused by the patriarchal values of the traditional social structures. It is important to increase women’s representation in all the domains where the decisions are made. This also means the political domain needs more women representation as it will lead to the women’s issue on mainstream politics.
With the recent news of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli appointing Shivamaya Tumbahangphe as the Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs in his Cabinet, many have been questioning the political agenda behind this move. However, Tumbahangphe’s statement on how patriarchy is so deeply fueled in our society still remains relevant.
In a country with male-dominated institutional structure, women are required to continuously prove themselves to be capable whereas men are referred to be competent without any question.
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