OUR FOCUS

Gender equality
and social inclusion

UNDP was able to help visually-challenged Khil Bahadur from Sindhupalchowk acquire a roof over his head after the earthquake and raise awareness about safer building practices in the community via an innovative new housing model. Photo: UNDP Nepal

In depth

Social inclusion has been at the heart of development discourse in Nepal for quite a long time. In the years after the dawn of democracy in 1990, Nepal underwent some significant socio-political reforms aimed at addressing key concerns around gender equality and social inclusion. The country saw some progress in the constitutional and legal fronts, with provisions guaranteeing special rights to women and other socially excluded groups. However, deep-rooted inequality continued unabated which saw manifestations in social unrest and ethnic tensions, including the decade-long conflict.

While Nepal now enters a new phase of reforms with a federal constitution following a long-drawn peace process, addressing the root causes of conflict remains the major challenge.  UNDP believes that in order to institutionalize the peace and development gains made so far, it is important to address the issues of gender equality and social inclusion, one of the root causes of the past conflict.

The Government of Nepal has put gender equality and social inclusion at the forefront of the national agenda, and highlighted the need for further efforts to improve the status of women, Dalits, Madhesis, Muslims, indigenous people, minority groups, persons with disabilities, people from geographically excluded regions, elderly people, gender and sexual minorities and the poor.

The promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women is central to the mandate of UNDP and intrinsic to its development approach. These efforts include advocating for women’s and girls’ equal rights, equal access to justice, women’s meaningful participation in different levels of decision-making, combatting discriminatory practices and challenging the roles and stereotypes that affect inequalities and exclusion. Gender equality is not only an important end in itself as reflected in Sustainable Development Goal 5, but also an important means to achieve the other Sustainable Development Goals.

UNDP Nepal works across different ministries, civil society organizations, federations, academia, media and bilateral organizations and with different UN agencies to advance gender equality, inclusion and the empowerment of women. Special attention is given to women and men facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination such as due to caste based discrimination, ethnicity, disability or indigenous status. UNDP focuses directly on gender, inclusion and women’s empowerment, integrating it into the organization's key thematic areas: Poverty Reduction, Democratic Governance, and Energy, Environment and Disaster Risk Management.

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