Nirvik Nari: An event celebrating womenPanellists describe the challenges women face at both social and policy levels.
The second edition of Nirvik Nari, an event to celebrate women, was organised in Kathmandu on Monday.
The event, backed by Nari, a monthly magazine published by Kantipur Publications Limited, aimed to address the challenges faced by confident women in different sectors of society.
The programme was divided into four different sessions—Home: Belief & Education; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Financial Independence and Women; and Stories: Challenges to Successes.
Delivering the keynote speech, Aarzoo Deuba Rana, a former parliamentarian and former member of the Constituent Assembly, shed light on how patriarchal structures are hampering women’s progress and how in some cases some women are encouraging patriarchy. She called on the people to recognise their internalised patriarchy and invited men to help in uplifting women.
“Unless men and women progress together, no society can progress,” said Rana.
The first session was Home: Belief & Education, moderated by Laxmi Bhandari of Nari magazine. The four speakers of the session were Dr Bijaya Gyawali (a clinical psychologist), Vani Rana (principal, Uniglobe School), Srijana Singh (Social worker and adviser, Nepal Mahila Samuha), and Ritu Singh Vaidya (Managing director, United Traders’ Syndicate).
The session aimed at instigating conversations on the holistic impacts of the society and upbringing on female children’s career progression. “The burden of dignity has been placed only on women, but men have no such burden to bear,” said Dr Gyawali.
All panellists collectively emphasised the need for education—in families and schools—to address discriminations and social conditioning of young girls.
The second session was on financial independence in relation to women, moderated by Sajana Baral, a journalist at Kantipur Daily. The panellists for the session were Durga Rijal (principal, Apex College), Kamala Thapa (Agency Manager, Citizen Life Insurance), Shobhana Dugar (managing director, Century Group of Companies), Grace Rauniyar (Investopreneur, Nepal Investment Forum) and Kohinoor Singh Agarwal (Managing director at Kat Queens, Kathmandu and Pokhara Rhinos).
The panellists described the challenges women face at both social and policy levels in establishing and sustaining their enterprises. Issues of citizenship, inadequacy of education to enable financial independence in women and the patriarchal structures of the society were addressed.
The third session was on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which was opened by Norlida (Oli) Azmi, Group Chief People Officer of Axiata group, virtually through an audio-visual message where she described the need of DEI in institutional setting to bring more people on board for a greater impact.
The session on DEI was moderated by former Miss Nepal Sugarika KC. The panellists for the session were Minister Ram Kumari Jhakri (Ministry of Urban Development), Shrishti KC (Motivational Speaker, Blind Rocks), Srijana Jyoti (managing director, Honda Car Syakar Trading Company); and Yuvraj Shrivastava, Chief Human Resources and Administrative Officer, Ncell Axiata Limited).
Panellist KC, who is visually impaired, highlighted the attitude and infrastructural disadvantages she faces in Nepal due to a lack of DEI policies. “My blindness is a hindrance in Nepal,” said KC.
Panellists shared different policies within their companies to ensure DEI, such as encouragement of leaves, changing patterns of performance evaluation, constructing infrastructures that aim at incorporating disabled, or differently abled people and the introduction of quota system.
The fourth was a storytelling session where women shared their stories of struggle and successes, which was followed by a speech by Sapana Pradhan Malla who presented the legal trajectory of the fight for women’s rights.
Four women who shared their personal stories were Dr Rita Gurung (CEO and Ophthalmologist, Tilganga Institute), Anchal Kunwar (managing director, Daraz Nepal), Shailaja Adhikary (managing director, IEC Group) and Pasang Lhamu Sherpa (mountaineer). This panel was moderated by media personality Rupesh Shrestha.
Before the panel discussion, Supreme Court Justice Pradhan Malla shared her experience and highlighted the fact that despite laws in place, much needs to be done to uplift women’s status in family and society.
Earlier in the morning, welcoming the guests, Upasana Ghimire, editor of Naari,
highlighted the various sectors in which women have to stand their ground and move along with determination in any sector of their work.
“There are various challenges women have to face at the family level, socially and politically as well,” said Ghimire. “Discrimination is in everyone’s heart and home.”