Parties fail to translate words into deeds
KATHMANDU, SEP 18 -
Political parties have made a mockery of their often-reiterated ‘policy of inclusion’ in the overall political process when it comes to women’s representation in the 18-member current Cabinet, which does not have a single woman minister. Undeniably, leaders have failed to translate their words into deeds.
Although the Interim Constitution has a provision of 33 percent representation of women in all state apparatuses, political parties are yet to implement this stipulation in their organisational set-ups.
Each political party claims to be more inclusive and women-friendly than others but figures belie their claims. Women leaders are mounting pressure on parties to ensure at least 33 percent representation of women at organisational levels.
The number of women’s participation in political parties is on the rise. The Nepali Congress has satisfactory presence of women at the Central Working Committee. Out of 85 CC members, 17 (19 percent) are women. However, leaders say women’s participation at the district and grassroots levels is dismal. “Women’s presence at the central level is satisfactory but their participation in other levels needs to be increased,” said CC member Mahalaxmi Dina Upadhyay.
Women leaders have demanded that the party ensure 33 percent representation of females, as stipulated in the constitution, at all levels if it cannot meet their demand for 50 percent representation.
They maintain that there is still a tendency of barring women from taking policy-making positions at the grassroots level.
The CPN-UML claims to be more inclusive than other parties in its organisational level. In its 115-member Central Committee, 22 are women and the party has a woman leader, Bidhaya Bhandari, as one of its vice chairpersons.
UML CC member Radha Gyawali said though women’s representation in the CC is less than 33 percent, it is ensured at lower levels. “There are only 22 CC members because in the party’s eighth general convention, quotas were allocated for women in proportion to the number of female members in the party,” she said. She is hopeful that the next general convention will ensure women’s 33 percent representation.
Newly formed CPN-Maoist is mulling over increasing the number of women’s participation in its Central Committee. In the 45-member CC, there are only seven women. “Women’s representation will be increased when the CC is expanded,” said Jayapuri Gharti. She said they have been demanding the party ensure 50 percent representation of women at all levels.
The UCPN (Maoist) is the least inclusive when it comes to women’s representation in organisations. The party has recently formed a 231-member General Convention Organising Committee, dissolving the Central Committee which has 26 women, representing Madhesi, Dalit, Muslim and other communities.
Even the Madhes-based and fringe parties have not ensured 33 percent representation of women in their organisations. Although they plan to include at least one women in their party, it is hard to find women’s participation at top levels.
Posted on: 2012-09-18 08:35