Women’s Role in the Nepalese Movement: Making a People’s Constitution
by Hisila Yami (Parvati)
At this very moment Nepal is making a constitution through the historic Constitutional Assembly (CA). It is important to note that up till now all prior constitutions handed over to the people of Nepal were through direct intervention of oligarchs or kings. It was the historic ten years of People’s War (PW) (1996-2006) complemented with 19 days of People’s Movement (April 2006) that made it possible to bring about a free and fair CA election in April 2008 as a means to make a people’s constitution by the people themselves. It is under the leadership of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [CPN(Maoist)] and its skillful use of a united front with various parties that the monarchy system was abolished in 2008.
The specificity of the Nepalese movement is the presence of a strong left. For this very reason the women’s movement is comparatively strong in Nepal. Women’s exploitation being deep-rooted — one of the oldest and longest exploitations, embracing all sectors from womb to tomb — communist movements often take the lead in ending it. Of course one has to fight against patriarchal tendencies within the Communist Party or similar tendencies arising from the stage of development of one’s society which ultimately find reflection on the Party or movement. But there are always rightist, ultra-leftist and eclectic middle tendencies within the Party or movement which will affect the women’s movement accordingly. Women have to fight for a correct line which addresses both the class and gender issues in correct proportions. In the specific case of Nepal, we have to additionally address Dalit, regional and ethnic oppression because they are interrelated to women’s oppression. Read the rest of this entry »