Women Take To Street For Equal Rights
Kathmandu, May 16: Demanding citizenship for children through mother´s name and a woman´s right to transfer her national identity to her spouse gauranteed in the new consitution, hundreds of demonstrators hit the streets of the capital on Wednesday.
A peaceful rally of women led by the Women´s Rights Struggle Committee marched from Babarmahal to Baneshwor with playcards in hand and raising slogans for equal rights for male and female citizens of the country.
In course of solving five contentious issues in constitution writing, the three major political parties and the United Democratic Madhesi Front on Tuesday decided that the new constitution will have a provision for issuing of citizenship by descent through either father or mother, provided both father and mother are Nepali citizens.
If the mother happens to be a non-Nepali, her children cannot obtain citizenship in her name.
Political leaders had also told Republica that there will be a special provision for issuing citizenship to children born to women of the badi community, and those born due to rape or forced prostitution.
However, the political parties are yet to arrive at an agreement on citizenship for foreign nationals married to Nepali women. The parties are likely to leave this issue to be decided under the citizenship law after the promulgation of the constitution.
On the other hand, women´s rights activists have termed recent developments as a big blow to women´s right and empowerment.
“Either the state must say that a male and a female are not equal citizens or it must gaurantee equal rights for both,” said Meera Dhungana, an advocate and human rights activist.
Talking to Republica, she added that women, who consitutue more than half the population, are likely to be treated as second class citizens once again and women must protest and prevent this with all their might.
“Earlier, we were quite hopeful that the new consititution would gaurantee equal rights for male and female citizens. The leaders always talked big and assured us of equal rights,” Dhungana said.
But they have not yet come out of their patriarchal mindset and are trying to reflect this in the constitution! This is disgusting,” she added.
According to Dhungana, the committe will intensify its protest and is gearing up to give all it takes to pressure political leaders to gaurantee equal citizenship rights for women under the new constitution.