World / Asia-Pacific

Nepal parliament elects first female president

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-10-28 22:20

Nepal parliament elects first female president

Nepal's newly elected President Bidhya Bhandari (C) walks out from the parliament after she was elected to power in Kathmandu, Nepal October 28, 2015.[Photo/Agencies]

She has become the only head of state in South Asia at the moment. According to a latest study on "Women in International Politics" by a political communication researcher Ewa Widlak, among 178 heads of state in the world, only 13 are women.

Bhandari's role is notable as she is the one who lobbied and tabled a bill in the parliament to ensure the 33 percent representation of women in all state organs, the highest in the whole Asia.

The present Constituent Assembly turned Legislature Parliament has 197 women, almost 33 percent of the total seats. The striking point is these women MPs represent diverse ethnicity and culture representing wide geography.

On the other side, Bhandari has also gone through some criticism by speaking against the provision of recently promulgated constitution to ensure citizenship through name of mothers.

Sharma, who also runs a television talk show on women issues, told Xinhua, "Personally, Bhandari always speaks in the favor of citizenship through name of mothers in public forums. But, we need to understand that it's a political issue which dragged her in the matter".

In Nepalese politics, women leaders lack meaningful participation as they are not in the decision-making level positions. However, Bhandari is an exception who is counted as top political personalities with strong influence in the party.

Born in a rural village in eastern district Bhojpur, she travelled a long and struggling journey to reach among the top 4 positions in CPN (UML) and to shift in Sheetal Niwas, a presidential residence in the centre of Kathmandu.

Now, the only question is how she can contribute in her capacity to empowering Nepalese women who are yet fighting for gender equity and opportunities.

A famed lawyer and right activist Sapana Pradhan Malla shared in social media "It is an exciting moment for Nepal. Now, the question is how woman holding this important position being neutral and gender sensitive can bring changes in the life of average Nepalese women ".

Though the situation for women in Nepal has been improving as women hold a strong and visible position in different sectors today, there are still some hitches.

Beside a few discriminatory laws, trafficking, violence against women, poor access in health and education, reproduction health rights are not only the issues of Nepal, but also of the region.

Amid such, a woman's advent as the head of state is seen as a breakthrough for transformation of lives of women not only in this Himalayan nation but in the entire South Asia.

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