On the International Women’s Day, the 8th of March, Demo Finland launched its new project “Mobilizing Youth for Gender Equality in Politics” in Kathmandu. The project supports young women’s active participation in politics and it is funded by the European Union.

Discrimination and unequal share of power are major problems hindering democratization in Nepal. Discrimination has restricted women and other marginalized groups from equal access to the state’s policy making positions. Although the proportional representation in the elections of 2008 brought an unparalleled number of women and representatives of ethnic minorities to the politics, women still have difficulties getting their voices heard in the policy making of the country.

Lack of democracy inside political parties is an essential problem. Patriarchal rules and policies in the parties do not support women’s participation. On the other hand, lack of experience and knowledge of politics as well as lack of networks and support give women little opportunities to get their voices heard. Political parties hold the key to create an inclusive democratic system and a political environment that supports the participation of women. For many, the youth and student wings of political parties are a starting point for the political career. Therefore gender equality in youth politics will pave the way to a more equal political culture in the future.

The starting point for the new gender equality project is that strengthening equality in political processes enhances sustainable peace and democracy. The main objective is to increase pluralistic and representative democracy in Nepal. Specific objectives are the active participation of women in political party organisations and also increasing their opportunities to enter leadership positions, strengthening gender equality in the political youth and student organisations and the active work of these organisations to advance gender equality in politics as well as in Nepalese society. The key actors in the project are the youth and student wings of political parties, and focus will be on local level. Activities will be carried out in several districts across Nepal.

Take a look at the photos from the project launch!