Women Act is a national level, non-profit making, non-governmental organization (NGO) established in 2007 as a network of 35 other women-led NGOs and networks to address gender inequality and work for the empowerment of women and girls. Women Act is registered in District Administration Office (DAO) of Kathmandu and in Social Welfare Council (SWC). Women Act believes that, for Nepal to become a more democratic and to achieve development, it must give women equal access to resources and decision-making opportunities. Hence, gender equality is fundamental in achieving good governance, economic growth and development.
Women Act has been active since its establishment involving NGO partners and networks that are also working for the empowerment of Nepalese women. Broadly, Women Act has been working for the leadership, empowerment, training and capacity building of women and girls. Women Act has highly prominent women activists as its board members and dedicated and highly professional staffs.
Women Act’s programs and activities address pertinent issues that are affecting women’s development in Nepal, especially focusing on governance, gender inequality and marginalization of women and girls. Women Act feels proud that it has been involving women and girls from various districts in the law-making processes in Nepal. Women Act has well established grassroots networks that include women led organizations/groups, women right activists, local CBO’s and NGOs across Nepal. Through decade long experience, activities, campaigns and events, a strong relationship and network has been built;
With national and international development partners, political parties, top level party leaders, parliamentarians, various line ministries and policy makers at the national level and
With district government agencies, NGOs, legal and paralegal networks, grass-root organizations and community people at the sub-national level.
Annex -1: Founding Member Organizations of Women Act
Aama Milan Kendra (AMK) ABC Nepal Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal (FECOFUN) Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO) Forum for Protection of Public Interest (ProPubic) Himalayan Grassroots Women’s Natural Resource Management Association (HIMAWANTI) Himalayan Indigenous Women Network (HIWN) Jagaran Nepal (JN) Legal Aid and Consultancy Centre (LACC) Madheshi Mahila Samaj (MMS) Mahila Jagran Kendra (MJK) Nagarik Aawaz (NA) National Democratic Institute (NDI) National Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF), Nepal National Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF), Nepal National Network Against Girls’ Trafficking (NNAGT) Nepal Disabled Women Association (NDWA) Nepal Muslim Women Welfare Society (NMWWS) POURAKHI Nepal SAATHI Safe Motherhood Network Federation Nepal (SMNF Nepal) Samjhauta Nepal Sancharika Samuha Save the Children Norway – Nepal (SCNN) Shtrii Shakti Softage Nepal South Asian Coordination Committee for Political Empowerment of Women (SACPEW) TEWA Thakali Women Association (TWA) Tharu Mahila Jagaran Kendra Women Acting Together for Change (WATCH) Women Awareness and Vision Centre (WAVE) Women for Human Rights (WHR) Women’s Alliance for Peace, Power, Democracy and Constituent Assembly (WAPPDCA)
Note: Women Act network formation was facilitated by Center for Development and Population Activities Nepal (CEDPA) in coordination of Srijana Adhikari to ensure gender equality and equity in the new constitution and to advocate for women’s rights. UNPP Protal Women Act implemented the ‘Strengthening Women’s Access to Sustainable Livelihoods in the COVID-19 Context’ project from May 2021 to December 2021 with the financial and technical supported from UN Women. As part of the project, Women Act provided comprehensive support required to 1300 COVID affected women entrepreneurs, women-owned MSMEs, and excluded women working in different value chains through various strategic approaches, socio-economic and capacity building interventions to ensure their economic recovery and help them move up in the value chains in the aftermath of COVID-19. Women Act implemented the project in Dhangadi Sub-Metropolitan City, Godawari Municipality, and Gauriganga Municipality of Kailali district Sudurpashchim Province, and Banepa Municipality, Panauti Municipality, Dhulikhel Municipality, and Pachkhal Municipality of Kavrepalanchok district, Bagmati Province.
Women Act implemented a UN Women-funded ‘Comprehensive Relief Package for Women and the Excluded Groups in the COVID-19 Context’ project from September 2020-September 2021. The main objectives of the project were: (i) address the practical needs of women and excluded group as the crisis evolves, (ii) address specific gender-based vulnerabilities/barriers such as gender-based violence, unpaid and care work, and lack of access to information, services and resources, and (iii) strengthen women’s networks for political engagement and advocacy to challenge the deep-seated gender discriminatory norms and harmful practices. Women Act worked with vulnerable women belonging to Dalit caste groups, LGBTQI+ communities, female headed HHs, single women and women and vulnerable population as identified under the project. The project was implemented in Province 3 (Chitwan and Makwanpur) and Province 5 (Rupandehi and Banke.
Women Act implemented a UNDP/Enhancing Access to Justice through the Institutional Reform Project (A2J)-funded ‘Improving Women’s Access to Justice in the Context of COVID-19 in Nepal’ project. The major objective of the project was to ensure women’s access to justice during the COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal through dialogues, advocacy and engagement with the government agencies, justice sector actors and concerned stakeholders at national and provincial level. The project was implemented at the federal level and in Madhesh Province.
Women Act assisted Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights Protection System in Nepal Programme (RoLHR)/UNDP in sharing and dissemination of various acts and laws at the national level. A national level sharing and dissemination workshop was organized in June 2017. This high-level event aimed to disseminate, raise wider awareness and have discussions on; (i) Domestic Violence (Offence and Punishment) Act 2009, (ii) Sexual Harassment at Workplace Prevention Act 2015, and (iii) GESI related laws and policies. Parliamentarians from various political parties and representatives from Parliamentarian Committees, Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, Ministry of Home, Attorney General’s Office, Supreme Court, Women Police Cell, BAR Association, experts and scholars from the concerned sector and media were present at the event.
Similarly, With the support from RoLHR/UNDP, Women Act organized various consultation workshops with stakeholders on various Acts and Bills. First consultation was organized with the real victims of domestic violence in 2015 to share and discuss the findings of the research conducted by RoLHR/UNDP on the effectiveness of Domestic Violence Act. The victims of domestic violence shared their difficulties and challenges in terms of access to justice and suggested that the services and mechanisms should be developed adequately so the real victims can access justice at all levels. Then Women Act organized a second broader level consultation workshop with the government officials, line ministries, CSOs, right activists and other relevant stakeholders in Kathmandu. Third workshop was organized with the relevant CA Members and Parliamentarian Committees of various political parties in Nepal.
Nepal has many progressive policies and laws on gender equality and social inclusion, but challenges with implementation leave room for conflict and grievances at the local level. As a follow-up of previous three consultations on Nepal’s new draft constitution, Women Act, with the support from Support to Participatory Constitution Building in Nepal (SPCBN)/UNDP, organized a national level consultation workshop with the concerned stakeholders on the provisions and rights of women enshrined in the new constitution of Nepal in 2015.
With the generous support from FAO, Women Act organized a national level workshop on Human Rights Based Approach and Right to Food in Nepal in August 2015. Women Act involved 40 Constituent Assembly Members from various political parties, government officials and concerned stakeholders in the workshop.
In addition, with the support of Support to Participatory Constitution Building in Nepal (SPCBN)/UNDP, Women Act successfully organized three broader national level consultation workshops in 2011 on the draft Constitution to make it gender sensitive. Women Act involved first-tier leaders from all the political parties, CA members, and national media representatives, including the press, television, and rights activists. Women Act led these dialogues and collaborated with the National Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF), Women’s Democratic Network (WDN) and National Network of Indigenous Women (NNIW) for meaningful dialogues and recommendations. These national consultations were very successful in terms of ensuring women’s rights in new constitution. The landmark achievement was the formulation of ‘Non-negotiable 16 Point Agenda of Women of Nepal” agreed by all the CA Members from different political parties. The ‘Non-negotiable 16 Point Agenda of Women of Nepal” was handed over to the President, Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House and the Presidents of all political parties.