THE PRESIDENT OF NEPAL
Bidhya Devi Bhandari is the first woman to take the position of the President of Nepal. She became the second president of the country after it abolished the monarchy and became a republic.
She took this position in October 2015. Although this role is considered a ceremonial one, Bidhya Devi Bhandari has a huge experience in politics and influences a lot on taking the decisions.
In 2016, the president entered the list of 100 most powerful women in the world of the Forbes magazine. She was in the 52nd place.
Bidhya Devi Bhandari was born in the family of farmers in a village called Mane Bhanjyang. As a child, she witnessed an angry mob beating an elderly woman and blaming her for being a witch. This moment scared her and inspired her to enter politics in order to protect the rights of women in her country.
“My mother said I should stay home and not join leftist politics because the then regime was chasing and arresting the communists”, she recalled.
At that period, Nepal was an absolute monarchy. Despite this fact, as a student, Bhandari secretly from her family joined the Communist Party of Nepal.
Protecting Women’s Rights
Bidhya Devi Bhandari is the main protector of women’s rights in Nepal. Due to her efforts, the new Constitution of September 20, 2015 included a paragraph ensuring that at least one-third of Nepali parliamentarians are women.
“I believe that the status of women can only be improved if their participation in the policy- and law-making bodies is increased. Now we must ensure that women have increased access to economic activities, jobs and education”, she said.
In March 2017, on her guidance the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare launched a new program on women’s empowerment. The aim of the program was to teach women skills necessary for earning income and to provide their employment.
The president expects that this program will provide 4,000 working places for women every year. Over 5 next years this initiative is to give women 20,000 working places.
In June 2017, she visited International Union for Conservation of Nature in Gland, Switzerland. According to her, international organizations working on the environment protection should minimize the aftermath of natural disasters in the so-called Less Economically Developed Countries like Nepal. The president considers the natural beauty of her homeland to be the part of the world heritage. That is why she called for protecting it.
Nepal makes much in this regard. It expands its national parks, regulates the flow of the rivers to prevent landslides and floods. The tiger population in Nepal keeps on growing during several years already.
Bidhya Devi Bhandari thinks that children are the base of the happy future of Nepal. That is why she contributes to improving the system of education.
“We've to invest in education and good health, everyone needs to focus on children promotional program for their physical and mental development”, she said.
According to her, the provision of child rights must be fixed in the Constitution.
In March 2016, Nepal held the first summit dedicated to girls. This event was a logical follow-up of the summit in London in 2014, devoted to the same issue. The meeting was dedicated to elimination of child marriages and forced marriages. His Royal Highness Prince Harry of the United Kingdom attended the summit in Nepal.
Nepal committed itself to put an end to child marriages by 2030. To do this, the Nepali Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare launched a huge program on empowering women. The summit was the first event of such kind in Nepal. And it became an important step towards changing the gender situation in the country.
Agata Korovina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov