The Chicago Tribune ran a fascinating article today about the state of women's equality in Nepal (read the article here
). In Nepal women traditionally have few rights. They are married before puberty, often die in childbirth, and until recently it was legal for them to be beaten by their husbands. But during the decade long Maoist insurgency they heard the promise of equality and fought as equals alongside the men. Yet as the fighting has given way to politics, that promise of equality is dissolving before their eyes. While the men setting up the new government say they support equal rights for women, it is clear that women are not a priority. So women find themselves shut out of the new government with no voice in the system they helped to install. They also are unable to return to their rural homes where unlike the men returning as war heroes, they are viewed as having lost their honor because of their serving alongside men as soldiers. Basically they are being told to wait until its the right time for the men to make everything better for them.
My heart goes out to these women who are being sent such conflicting messages regarding their worth and identity. To be called equals and given opportunities when it was convenient for the men and then pushed aside as a distraction is a devastating turn of events. It unfortunately reminds me a bit too much of the treatment women often receive within the church. So I'll be interested to see how the plight of the Nepalese women unfolds.
Labels: Gender Issues