This paper is based on an extensive three-year research project employing qualitative methods. In this paper we will discuss women's struggle for equality in Nepal, their current successes in the political process, and remaining underlying challenges. The aim of this paper is to share with a wider audience that establishing equality and equity is hard but not impossible if and when constant efforts are made in a concerted way by bringing all likeminded people (men and women, politicians and parliamentarians), together. Nepal has been undergoing tremendous socio-political transformations over the past two decades, from civil war to negotiated peace, unitary to federal and monarchical government, and ultimately to the current republican political system, where the role of women is eminent. Historically, despite unfavourable circumstances, Nepali women have established themselves as key actors of socio-political changes. Under the leadership of Yogmaya Neupane (1860-1941), Nepali women began their struggle during the Rana Regime and advanced since the 1950s, by engaging both in popular peaceful political movements to armed insurgency and parliamentary competition with their male political counterparts. As a result, the new constitution of Nepal in 2015, ensured 33 % of seats, guaranteed to the parliaments and all other government positions as well as provision of male-female alternate seat provisions in the highest positions such as President and Vice President, Chief and Deputy Chief of Parliament (in both upper and lower houses), Mayor and Deputy Mayor where two of one must be female. Further, it has ensured inclusive provisions in all state structures. As a result, from the national and local elections of 2017-18, women have come to occupy 41.8% of political positions across the country. One of the key factors to ensure higher and meaningful participation of women in politics were these favourable electoral provisions. We found that despite numerous challenges that women face in political and electoral processes, they have demonstrated success in achieving higher participation in political positions. However, what has been achieved so far is not enough and continued concerted action among all actors is essential.

Author Biography

Bishnu R. Upreti is Research Director, Nepal Centre for Contemporary Research (NCCR), Kathmandu, Nepal.

Drishti Upreti is Research Officer, Nepal Centre for Contemporary Research (NCCR), Kathmandu, Nepal.

Yamuna Ghale is a PhD Student, Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU), Chitwan, Nepal.