In a previous blog I mentioned how there is a new law that was established in July by the Parliament providing a dowry to any men who would marry women. The men would receive 50,000 rupees ($650) by marrying women who have lost their husbands, many killed by the Maoist conflict. In recent weeks women’s rights groups have become outraged and are demanding the center-left coalition that announced the law to revoke it immediately. Hundreds of women marched through the streets of Kathmandu last week to the prime minister’s office chanting, “We don’t want your government dowries.” Police stopped the courageous women unfortunately and luckily there was no violence.
I am infuriated by this law, not only does it cross many human rights abuses, yet also raises questions about how the government is spending it’s money. Shouldn’t this money be going towards women for the poor health care system (reproductive healthcare in Nepal is very poor) job training and education? Also, wouldn’t the men marry only for the money and then take off and run with it? Unraveling the patriarchal worldview that women have held for lifetimes will take years and lifetimes to break. Not only do women need to understand their rights but also the government needs to change its gender based discrimination, which sadly will probably take much longer for change. It’s a human right for single women to live the way she chooses, a problem across the globe even in the most developed countries.
A nation wide movement needs to be formed and I hope in the next few weeks I have left I can motivate women in NESPEC’s women’s forums groups to take action. Many rural women do not know of the changing policies and certainly the more that are informed, the increasing chances they will want to become more involved.
Posted By Morgan St. Clair
Posted Aug 28th, 2009