Theoretical Review: Leadership of Nepalese Women – Janata Live
  • Saturday, February 4, 2023

Theoretical Review: Leadership of Nepalese Women

  • ST Sherpa
  • चैत २७, २०७५

Theoretical Review: Leadership of Nepalese Women

Nepal is one of the least developed countries in the world where male has higher status than that of female. Nepal’s total population is 26,494,504 where women population is (13645463) 51.5 percent and men population is (12849041) 48.5 percent (CBS, 2011). In the Nepal, there has patriarchy system from the past. So male in the various fields dominates female like household, social and other socio-cultural sector. Women have lost socio-economic status as well as policy making, education level, health sector etc. There is not equal participation of male and female. Nepal is the poorest country in the world. Except for a few professionals and businessman and some large farmers, everyone in Nepal is poor, women make up 13,645,463 of Nepal’s population (2011, Census). The infant mortality rate is 33.0 out of 1000, and the child mortality rate is 5.0 out of 1000 live birth. Forty-six percent of the population above the age of six years is illiterate, with 57.5 percent female illiteracy. The maternal mortality rate is 239 out of 100,000 and total fertility rate is 2.49 per women (CBS, 2011). Nepalese women are considered to be backward because most of them are illiterate. But their backwardness is not due to illiteracy alone but also because of sexual discrimination due to the patriarchal system of the Nepalese society where women are not treated equal right from the womb (Mishra, 1989). In Nepal, half the population constitutes of women and 90 percent of them are engaged in agriculture and related activities. They work approximately four percent of the total land area, while average size of land holding owned by women is only 0.65 percent (Mishra, 1989).

The phrase “overworked and underpaid” is and apt description of women throughout the world. Women’s labor accounts for two thirds of the world’s work hour, yet they receive only ten percent of the income and less than one percent of property (UN, 1980). Women, usually have lesser access resources and benefits due to various cultural constraints, women are heavily engaged in domestic sector along with the socio-economic activities. They have to do more household work than the male but they have no decision making power. They are not enjoying equal decision making power with their male partners. In childhood they have to live under their fathers, in adulthood they should follow their husbands and in the old age they are under their son. The economic, demographic and social factor are found as the most important factors which directly or indirectly affect the decision making process. Most of females are economically dependent. They have to ask to their male partners to spend their own income also. Very few women are economically independent and they have little bit higher decision making power. Women are involved in most activities and decision making related household and other activities. As women don’t have the land title and lack of other sources of income they are depended upon their husbands (Agrawal, 1997). Thus when it comes to access to land resources the women have accessibility. But when it comes to control of benefits of the resources it is the male who still exercise because our society is male dominated society where major decisions are taken by the male household head. If there is surplus of agricultural productions, then it is taken by the males to the market to be sold. The earned income is taken care by the males and has hold upon the source of cash even though the females had equal share in its up keeping. Unequal rank and power in decision making and benefits are legitimizing by traditional societal norms.

In connection to the above view, greater confinement of the women to the household implies higher fertility rates. Such a demographic phenomenon further implies low economic participation and among these women and consequently a low status attached to them. Again conventional social norms and beliefs trend to diminish the overall status of women both within on outside the household. The general belief is that women belong to the domestic sector which releases little time off from their overwhelming work load for any kind of productive economic participation. All these factors bestow the least possible decision making powers to these women as compared to their male counterpart. Whatever input they might contribute in this respect might be on unimportant matters. They being thought as incapable of making any effective decisions, the high rate of illiteracy especially among the rural women might be another factor which confers low states to them. The male perception of women being worthy of only their reproductive roles reinforced by the lack of self confidence of the women themselves to come forth as capable members, all aid in the process of their low status.

In male dominated country like our, we find a large gender inequality. Male are given preference in many socio-economic activities. We find involvement of male in district as well as in national level programs rather than women. Many opportunities are given to male rather than women from the household bases. Women’s participation is minimum in every decision making and job opportunities. The constitution of 2047 guarantees equal rights to every Nepali citizen for respective of race, color caste, creed and sex is an accomplished fact. Within the patriarchy social system, a distinct division of labor between the two sexes has been created on grounds of biology. As women bear children the job of rearing and looking after children is the sole responsibility of women. In doing, so men have been expected from the housework. So women have not only been confined to the four walls of the house but in addition have to collect water fetch fodder for animals and work in the fields alongside the men. Women work larger the time hours than men, yet they belong to the residual category in the society. Their identity and prestige in the society is established through affirmed relationship with males. Consequently her whole life is spent in vicarious living. The eating patterns also attempt this fact. Although the women cook the food, she is supposed to eat of what others left after all the family members have eaten. In the majority of the cases it is not enough to satisfy her hunger let along being adequate for her nutritional requirements. It is if her sole purpose in being born is to pleasure the male members of the family produce children and that too a baby boy became ensures to continuity of the family life. No doubt, women’s participation in bureaucracy and politics has increased in the past few years. However, only a few of them have reached the decision making position. Although the percentage of women bureaucrats increased to eight percent from five percent some years ago, their percentage in the higher level has declined now. The constitutional provision for the allocation of the five percent of the candidacy for women in parliamentary elections by each political party has opened the door of political recognition of women. What is more, the liberal provision for stipulating a minimum quota in local government bodies to be filled by women has opened up possibilities of altering the positions of decision making institution (Basnyat, 2000).

In Nepal 21 percent of people has under the poverty line (CBS, 2011) where the status of women has lower than male. Our society is being over ruled by patriarchal values. Women are far behind than male in various development fields, such as economical, educational, health and social aspect. At present Nepal faces many challenges particularly in the field of women’s advances, where illiteracy, ignorance and civil aspect of the patriarchal system are deeply rooted in the peasants farm households. Relating to decision making and power women’s representations is very poor in the whole of south Asia especially in the countries Nepal, Bangaladesh, India and Pakistan (Mishra, 1989).

The Beijing conference on women 1995 has emphasized different aspects related to the problems of women and passed plate form of actions addressing twelve different critical area of concern women and poverty, education and training of women, women and health, violence against women, women and armed conflict, women and economy, women in power and decision making, institutional mechanism for the advancement, human rights of women, women and media, women and the environment and the girl child. But they are still facing the problem of deprivation. They are deprived from their rights and responsibilities. Even their husbands and family members are not ready to hear their voice.

The advancement of women and the achievement of equality between women and men is a matter of human rights. Moreover it is a condition for social justice and should not be seen as isolated women’s issue. It is the only way to build a sustainable, just and developed society. The empowerment of women and equality between women and men are prerequisites to achieving political, social, economic, cultural and environmental security to all (Beijing, 1995) without empowering and bringing the women into the mainstream of development as well as other activities, it is not possible to develop the society and the nation. As men and women are considered the two wheels of a cart, so both should be equally strong and powerful to draw the social improvement and it is development. If issues of women are not considered and timely future generation of women might also be suffered from different kinds of difficulties, it will certainly affect their lives as well as the advancement of human civilization, society and nation. Therefore, it should considered about the decision making power of women and they are endowed with it.

Theoretical Review of Gender
Gender is socially constructed concept based upon sex. Sometimes sex and gender have same meaning but sex is biologically defined, whereas gender is socially defined concept. Sex refers to the biological fact which determine a person either a man or woman but gender refers to socially learned traits associated with and expected of men or women. There are differences between women and men that are biological. Sex refers to the biological differences that are universal and unchanging. The term gender refers to the sexual differences that are learned, are changeable over time and have wide variations within and between cultures. Gender is a socio-economic variable to analyze roles, responsibilities, constraints and opportunities of people involved and it considers both men and women (Zwarteveen, 1993). Gender roles are arising from the socially assigned differences between women and men. These are changeable and vary with class, caste, race, ethnicity, religion, age and with time. They influence the division of labor, which reinforces existing power relations and access to resources, benefits, information and decision making. When looking at gender, it is crucial to bear mind the differences between sex and gender (UN, 1999). Gender roles are learned behaviors in given society conditioning which activities, tasks and responsibilities are considered feminine and masculine (Neupane, 1993).

Marxist Feminism
Marxist concept of material forces, the production and reproduction of social life is much stressed by the Marxian feminists. In general, the Marxist feminists believe social existence determines consciousness, so the belief system that women have is the product of her role in the family and at the workplace which have kept them in a subordinate position.

The basis of women’s subordination lies in the family which is a system of dominant and subordinate roles, which is mostly patriarchal with monogamous marriage and fully male dominated arrangements. In such institution especially in a middle class family where women is confined in the household, and without economic independence, she is just the chattels or possessions of her husband. Society legitimizes this family system and describes as and ideal family type in most of the societies which is not true in the pre-historic analysis. There existed mostly matriarchal societies when there was no established family and private property when hunting and gathering was the primary occupation of people. This type of society existed in collective and cooperative communal living arrangements, commodity use, child rearing and decision making and free choice of love and sexual partners by both men and women. The change in the primitive family system by the ownership of property, man emerged as the first familia, a master and his slave servants, wife servants and child servants. In this unit the master and fiercely defended his claim to sole sexual access to his wives and passed on to his heirs, the sons (Barrett, 1985).

Such system was continued followed by exploitation of labor which developed into a complex structure of domination especially the class structure. The political order was created to safeguard the systems of domination and family which evolved in such a system played a vital role to coerce the political economy and subordination of women. Destruction of property rights only will the women attain the social, political, economic and personal freedom (Barrett, 1985).

Role of Women
Acharya and Bennett (1981) give a wider overview of women’s status in their decision making power in household. Acharya and Bennett claim that economic factor affects women’s role in decision making both directly and indirectly. If a woman has a greater economic participation she has a greater power of decision making. Similarly, social and demographic factors also influences the role of decision making e.g. small size of children imply higher economic participation and consequently greater decision making power for women. Nepalese women also play managerial role for decision making i.e. farm management, resources allocation and domestic expenditure. There is variation between the communities regarding the male/female input into the farm management decisions (Acharya and Bennett, 1982). Acharya and Bennett have singled out decision making from the multi dimensional concept of status which reflects the internal dynamic of sexual stratification within the household they developed some model from the study of eight different village committees from the status of women in Nepal. In this model, the villages were more conceived to be operating in such four spheres of subsistence activities as household domestic work, agricultural productive activities, work in the village labor market and local bazaar and total employment in the wider economy beyond the village. The finding of the model shows that in the first sphere woman participation in farming and domestic activities constituted 86 percent women imparts account for 57 percent in agro production in second sphere, while their inputs in third and fourth sphere drop down to 38 percent respectively. Their total contribution to the household’s income remains so percent as oppose to 44 percent for males. The remaining 6 percent of income is contributed by the children of 10-14 years. Acharya and Bennett highlighted another pattern in same study, the different degree of female participation in market economy in different communities, which subsequently relates to their decision making power within the households. Women from Hindu communities have greater concentration in domestic and subsistence production. Women from Tibeto-Burman groups have concentration in market activities. This implies women in the more orthodox Hindu communities who are largely confined to domestic and subsistence production display much less significant role in major household economic decision than those in Tibeto-Burman communities where women participate actively in market economy.

Women have very low participation in decision making process, 70 percent of households related and external decision are entirely made by male members of house (Acharya, 1995). Though females spent their time in household activities, they have less chance to decide for these activities. Acharya (1997) states that conventional social custom is one of the major reason obstructing women from participation fully in economic development, which results low decision making power in women’s hand. Higher the participation of women for economic development, the social conception that only women are responsible for reproduction of human beings, conception delivery and upbringing of child has made it extremely difficult for women to participate in development process as equal member of society . Due to all these reasons their status compared to male is very low. Even political, social and cultural development follows the economic development of country. In this context, the committee constituted by United Nations in the status of women trying to gain for equal rights for women in various field of their social and economic life, suggestion for removal of gender inequalities in legal economic, social and educational matters.

Acharya (1997) concludes that in addition to the activities being performed under national and international auspices activities involving women in development process status of women in Nepal can be improved by giving attention to such things as making specific studies about the economic, social and cultural activities of women in Nepalese societies. Providing the educational opportunities are similar school and curriculum for both girls and boys students in same sphere in education. Eliminating inequalities are inheritance rights, family rights and all over legal rights, involving the educated women in offices involving them in seminar and symposia from the time to time etc. According to Pyakurel and Thakuri (1998), as soon as the males born, expectations are bestowed on him. He has certain stereotype roles waiting for him when he reaches adulthood. In Neplese society, social status of women is always though to be that of subordinate to men. A survey conducted by UNICEF on the status of women and children in Nepal reports that gender disparity starts right from the birth and continues through different stages of the girl’s life and as further depended and perpetuated through various rituals. Women’s public life is culturally restricted to the degree that it is casually related to the patriarchal social system which confines them to subordinated position. Religion ethnicity, culture, law, tradition, history and social attitudes place severe limits on women’s participation in public life and also control in their private life. These factors have both shape and culture worldview and governed in dividend self image, subsequently affecting the understanding and practice of development. This fact is largely evidenced by the reality that a negligible number of Nepalese women are involved in professional, management and decision making position (Stri Shakti, 1995). Women are more apt to say that their husband makes decision alone than to consider that they are making decision jointly with their husbands or those they have decision alone. Women have simply nodding approved or accepting their husband’s decisions without questioning does not mean that a decision was made jointly, simply because they express their opinion does not mean that they make a decision. The idea is that women express their own value and an increase in the level of their confidence in voicing their opinions (Stri Shakti, 1995).

UNICEF report (1987) depicts, that women’s contribution to economic and social progress is still constrained by their limited access to education and information which the full development of utilization of their intellectual and productive capacities. For a large proportion of women, the written world still finds no meaning. Many rural women who do become literate however, will lose their skill because there are few opportunities for them to practice. Low level educational attainment among the women and prejudice in favor of male recruitment may also negatively affects the formal employment of women. In 1982, in government service only 7 percent of gazette officers and 5 percent of the supporting staff were women. Women constitute less them 10 percent of decision making position at the national and local level. Most of the decisions concerning activities are made by men. The study shows about 50 percent of decision are made by men, 19 percent jointly and 31 percent by female which shows very low percentage of decision making power on the part of women. According to Shrestha (1994) the decision making power of women may increase with an equality of participation at all levels of planning and policy making not as recipient beneficiaries, labor and input contribution and consultants but as active change at the concerned level. It does not mean the involvement of one of two women or the wives of the leaders, but the involvement of women and men in the same proportion in decision making as their proportion in the communicates at large. She further added that the women of Nepal are so dependent to men if the partners of members deny giving shelter to them; it is a question of basis survivals. This system has made women to helpless, houseless and dependent that without men they will not survive. So, in this inhuman system the right of survival is laid on the hearts of men. According to the preliminary report of population census 2001, in Nepal, women constitute more than 50 percent of the total population in the country (CBS, 2001). The infant and maternal mortality rates are also highest in Nepal among the countries of South Asia. The adult literacy rate of 40 percent (female less than 1/3 of that) is one of the lowest in South Asia (CBS, 2001). Although women who comprise half of the population of the country and have always been involved in national development, they are still marginalized from the opportunities such as a economic resources e.g. property, income, employment as well as other resources. Illiteracy unhealthiness, poverty and conservative social taboos have been the fate of Nepalese women in general. Women in Nepal, as elsewhere, hold the triple work responsibilities of reproduction, house holding and farm work. However, reproduction is not treated as work and house holding is not considered as productive work by government system. Women also suffer from discriminatory practices in opportunities for education, personal mobility, which is required among other for skill development and independent decision making (UNDP, 1995).

Equality in society can’t be achieved either through slogans, demands, conflicts or through wishes and blessing along. Experiences have also shown that laws and regulations are not adequate. What is indeed required is a climate of public opinion where feeling or equality emanates from the hearts of all. Women are bounded by socio-cultural norms. Even parents discriminate against the girl child. This is because of lack of knowledge, awareness and education. So, if the nation wants to gain something from women, their first duty should be to given equal opportunity of education, health, empowerment etc. and control of family, by the use of family planning measures and drastic change will come in the nation automatically in every field like economic development, status of women, women’s decision making power etc. It can be concluded from the above studies, that females have low decision making power due to lack of proper socio-economic and demographic status. Nowadays the access of female of resources has been increased but their status has slow motion to forward. Either one way or other females have more responsibilities in household chores, agricultural activities and other but they have less chance to decide freely. So, it should not be forgotten that without equal participation of male and female in all spheres of household or other activities, there is less chance to be developed societies. Therefore, women should bring into the main stream of development activities not by only there physical presentation but by providing fully decision making power. A greater economic role for women definitely improves their status within the family. A majority of them have more money to spend, and even more importantly, have a greater say in the decision to spend money. Most women claim to be better treated as a result of their contribution to household income. A substantial proportion of women feel that they should have a recognized economic role and an independent source of income. Their attitudes evidence a clear perception of the significance of their work to family welfare and their own status within the family (Agrawal, 1997). There are very few women working in the legal field. The Supreme Court report of 1994, shows that there are only 251 persons working in this field. Not a single woman has served as a judge of the Supreme Court until the present day. Only two women are serving as judges in the court of Appeals. Women also do not own senior advocate positions. They may study the law, but few are able to enter the profession. Of those who do, most are found to be working for the support of women as pleaders in different courts.

Women entered formal politics along with men in 1950 with the reshuffle of the Rana regime in the country. Since them women are represented in both national and local bodies but their participation is very low. Women’s representation in the bureaucracy is also very low. Only one woman so far has served ambassador. After 1991 not a single women has been placed in the diplomatic corps. Limited participation in politics, bureaucracy and judiciary does not stop women from making a remarkable contribution in the decision making process at the household level. Women serve as decision makers in farm management, domestic expenditure (food items, clothes and other expenses), the children’s education, religious and social travel, household maintenance and capital transactions. However women’s decision making roles seem to have declined in recent years (Mukhopadhyaya and Sudarshan). Most of the Asian girls and women have poor bargaining power to make decision and concerning the numbers and spanning of children. Reproduction control lies mostly with men and husbands, limited access to information and education, patriarchal religious and cultural beliefs further accounts for low contraception one, leading to disease, frequent pregnancies and death (UNICEF, 2001). Dr. Vina Mazumdar in her article on “Another Development with Women: A view from Asia” speaks of the Asian women who have been subjected to acute social, economic and political prejudice and oppression in the past which continues even to this day, may be to a lesser degree. According to her, “The monopolies of economic and political power as well as access to knowledge are the three major instruments by which the present structure of inequality between and within nations in maintained” ( Mazumdar, V:65). The majority of the women in the world, especially the Asian women are excluded from these instruments. Their position is further belittled the fact that their work is considered as non-productive. This undervaluation of women’s contribution to the economy is closely associated with their inferior social status and also “The relative loss of individual freedom and status with the family” (Mazumdar, v: 69), She also talks of non-socialist countries, where the extension of capitalism has further marginalized the economic and social roles of women. They have been projected as mere consumers, worthy of only social welfare services but not as partners with equal say in building a new society. Such welfare policies, no matter how will intentioned, are found to reinforced various forms of exploitation of these women. Mazumdar also highlights upon the fact that in Asia, women constitute the single largest group engaged in agriculture and food production. Some Asian traditions even claim that women discovered agriculture. Yet very few of them control the basic asset land. Although they participate actively in the labors process, they are often excluded from the decision making process. Further, women in agriculture attach highest priority to food crops, as it becomes their responsibility to feed their families. Therefore, their greater control on decision could be made instrumental in reducing the areas under food crops.

Mazumdar concludes, saying that constraints of family, illiteracy and all traditional barriers and attitudes prevent women’s ability to influence vital decision making. She suggests forming grass root level organization responsive to the needs of the poor, local women. Along with this is needed a new approach to study the social organizations, i.e. families and household in a clearer perspective. Better knowledge of women both in the past and present can bring a lot of changes to these perceptions. Krishna Ahooja Patel speaks of the absolute necessity to bring women’s issues into the forefront of development strategies. Although such issues have been denied access in important national and international discussion in the past she feels that the preliminary term of “women and development” now being replaced by “women in development” is quite a significant step towards a realistic perception of women their lives. Ahooja Patel observes that “ the collective effect of perceptions, values and lifestyle have distorted women’s personality and stunted her growth reducing hereto the size a ‘crippled’ tree. Such values and norms have imposed restrictions to her time, energy, space and rendered her status to a “non status” according to her, this non status of women is tied to two poles of their immobility: in the work cycle (production) and in the life cycle (reproduction). These in turn, have led to an overall third immobility: that of being marginalize in both decision making and decision taking. Ahooja Patel, 1982: 19) these three immobility may stem from women’s place in the family, in the labor market and their relationship to the society. Although the extent of immobility is may stem from women place in the family, in the labor market and their relationship to the society. Although the extent of immobility imposed on women may vary between families and societies, the outcome remains the same that of suppressing the integrity and creativity of women at large. Ahooja Patel goes on further to highlight upon the roles of women in food production, industrial work, health provision and education. According to her, women constitute the largest number of food producers approximately 50 percent in Africa, 30-40 percent in Asia and slightly less in Latin America. Yet this vital section of the food producers are themselves the most undernourished and in some places the hungriest part of population (Ahooja Patel, 1982:22). The industrial scene also provides a picture of the women’s need to struggle for survival. While women occupy the least qualified jobs, almost all qualified jobs are filled by men. Moreover, the women’s jobs are characterized by minimum wages which accounts for the fact that their earning is much lower as compared to that of an average man. Beside the heavy manual and menial work that women perform, their energies are further drained throughout their life by the reproductive processes. They are also the ones to be highly neglected regarding medical treatment. However, women’s health problems con not is resolved unless the perception of her sexuality undergoes a fundamental charge. Further, until it is the third party or the male member who decide on her reproductive capacity, there seems little possibility of resolving the health problems faced by these women. Where education is concerned, one billion women in the third world countries can not read and write and in some countries as much as 90 percent of the female population is illiterate. Besides, the female drop out rates increase as they move up the educational ladder from the primary to secondary education. Their educational status enhance their inferiority complex in the competitive world a complex which starts from home where they are given a low priority in household expenditure and other equally important matters.

Finally, Krishna Ahooja Patel concludes on a questioning note can we afford to trace any path of development without pooling the untapped resources of women? She emphasizes upon women as an indispensable human resources and the necessity to mobilize them for any significant and balanced development of a nation. Janice Jiggins (1989) speaks of the sub-saharan African women who are involved in almost all household based agricultural activity which support rural livelihoods. An overall 30 percent of rural households are estimated to be headed by women who contribute 80 percent of agricultural labor mainly as unpaid labor. They produce 60 percent of the food consumed by rural households and contribute over one third of all household income via small business, trading and casual labor. But despite their major input to household food and economic security, “patriarchal family and social structures deny women real property rights in land, limit women’s access to over the proceeds of their own labor and constrain their decision making roles” (Jiggins, 1989: 953). Government incentives, provision for service and market support has been low for these women. Increasing responsibilities to be fulfilled within the household on the one hand and too little resources on the other, their activities are increasingly under stress. This probably can be associated with their high mortality rates than in other developing countries besides the inadequate health care provide for women.

Although they support the household economy, women are increasingly becoming dependent on self employment on wage work for survival. This is because the whole economic, social and legal set up is such that it provides few opportunities for women from being productive. To cite an example, the status of divorced and separated women is legally vulnerable. They have less access to credit and social supports so much so that separated women are not allowed to make economic and financial decisions on the assumption that such authority lies only with the separated husband. The continuing male dominance and unequal household responsibilities further worsens the position of these women. And although informal sector provides for female entrepreneurship, especially in trading or small scale agro-industry, they are faced with many problems such as interference and manipulation by men, raiding of cash to meet domestic expenditure and competition with licensed state enterprise. However, Jiggins also suggest various micro level interventions which would strengthen women’s position “in the labor process, within the household and independent wage and income earners.” Such interventions would be supportive of the expansion of income generating opportunities and activities for women which would stop further deterioration of their livelihoods. In Nepal number of studies on women’s decision making have been undertaken to ascertain the role of women in different sectors. Most of the studies has shown that in most traditional societies girls are kept largely within the confines of the household and family where they are protected taught to accept the decision that others presents, teachers, brothers make on their behalf. As a result of this lack of experience in a public context, girls tend to the lack of self confidence and skills needed to function effectively in positions of formal leadership (Needel Shara G. 1991). Study shows that Nepal is nation dominated by ideas and values associated with Hindu system. These include concept of caste and gender, hierarchy and patriarchy in which people are born into roles and it is these roles that dictate their behavior.

In addition to internalizing outside concepts of decision making i.e., realizing that nodding approval does not entail making a decision jointly (Nedel Shara G. 1991). This shows that attendance at meetings is only one indicator of women’s informal participation in decision making. However, this does not tell us anything about the quality of their participation. It is an important beginning because women are at least getting access to some information from attending the meeting. It is difficult to judge the extent to which women do speak or even if their voices are heard in these meetings without actually observing them. This represents a truer picture of life in Nepal, a life that is guided by dominant, patriarchal and Hindu religious cultural system. Besides, these household chores are considered no work at all. In addition, it has been only recently that studies have been undertaken which reflect women’s productive roles. But women participation in decision making is very little. Simply nodding approval or accepting their husband’s decisions without questioning does not men that a decision was made jointly (Needel Shara G. 1991). When daughter grow up, they will become wives. In other words a laborer for another family sooner or later, more over, if girls are not good at household and farm work owing to exposure to education, she might be looked down up in her husbands family when she gets married. So, investment in a girl’s education is discouraged. Generally, there has been more girls’ dropout than boys at the primary level (Gurung, 1999).

Nepali women are daughters, wives and mothers, but are not recognized as individuals with their own identity, despites the fact that they are as human as men. Society has relegated women to the lowest rank and to a submissive role, confined to the home and farm and their responsibilities there due to their maternal function. They are discouraged and prevented to take part in public life (Subedi, 1993). Women’s economic dependence is on the men in the society, mainly stemming from the fact that men earn cash incomes and contributes so their social status. The few women who earn a salary are often held in higher esteem than women who do not (Gurung, 1999). The above referenced studies shows that the decision making power is affected by various factors. In Nepal, women constitute more than half of total population with poor status. More family is engaged in household activities without having decision making power. They are bounded by socio-cultural norms. Even parents discriminate their children the basis of sex. This is because of lack of knowledge, awareness and education. It can be concluded from the above studies that female have low decision making power due to the lack of proper socio-economic and demographic status of families. They have to follow their male partner in most of the cases. Nowadays the access of female in various resources has been increased but their status has slowed their motion to more forward. Either one way or families have more responsibilities in household work agricultural activities and other but they have less chance to decide freely. So, it should not be forgotten that without equal participation of male and female in all spheres of household or other activities, there is less chance of social development. Therefore, women should bring into the main stream of development activities not by only their physical presentation but by providing them full decision making power.

Nepalese socio-cultural structures are generally similar in diversities societies. However, their cultural heritages are distinct by racially. Ecological zone play vital role in their settlement patterns. Therefore, gender statuses also depend on their particular geo-ecology. Such as culturally Aryan and Indigenous Mongol, communities are distinct. The indigenous community female have found quite liberal and open (Sherpa, 2010: 9-10). Women of Hindu Nepalese, they are very low status with male. High caste women low status and low caste women quit quite status. But ethnic community women have found quite liberal and open (District local level Profile: 2075). The study has also shown that laws and order are not adequate. So, if the nation wants to gain something from women, its first duty is that it should provide equal opportunity of education, health, empowerment etc. Then the drastic change will come in the nation automatically in every field like economy, development, status of women’s decision making power etc.

This study is conducted to explore the rural women’s participation in decision making process, it was found that females have low decision making power with compared to their male counterparts. Expect in the cropping pattern, females have low decision making power in all the other aspects. Women were engaged in household activities mainly and surrounded by household boundaries which are private sphere for female but the public sphere for male guided by Hindu traditional thought and theory. In the context of major decision making of household we found relatively greater involvement of husband than wife. Comparatively Hindu women are oppressed by male but not the Buddhist women are so oppressed because of cultural hospitality of different religion and society. In Hindu culture male is like god, so superior and female is servant of them so inferior. But in Buddhist culture male and female are life partner not superior and inferior in relation. In the Hindu culture, high class caste women were highly exploited and low class caste women were low exploited in this research area. Here, we can coin a theory about Hindu women with cause of cultural relation “High class caste women are highly inferior, low class caste women are low inferior but men are always superior in both class”.

In this study area, major decision making process major decision of household is made by husband and supported by wife in greater extent. Women’s main role in household activities but in care and main sector of decision making their involvement is low than their male counterpart. Still women are far behind than man in decision making power which is not only in grass root level, but also major problem in national level as well. The study shows that the female’s status is weaker as compared to their male partner. In each and very aspects females have to their inferiority than males. They have to play only subordinate role in household and society. Although from the findings of this study are we found involvement of women as the initiators in various decisions making like education, expense, family planning etc. However, the final decision regarding all this matters was found to slowly depend upon the husband very less involvement of other male and female members were found in decision making in different aspects. The greater role of husband as final decision maker signifies that women and still for behind than male as major decision maker on of the main problem as illiteracy in rural which lead only the husband as final decision maker. Educational status of female is lower than that of male; it is due to low involvement of women in decision making power.

There are great differences among the men and women were in decision making process. In the research area, women were most involved in household work and they have low participation in the decision making power. However, it is household decision or social, economic sector’s decision. The field work shows those males are most active in core decision making process. Male were mainly involved in public sphere activities. They are mostly engaged in activities. In Municipality ward no 5 most female are illiterate, they have only limited in household chores. Males have made important decision such as economic, social educational and about future plan. Females are only supporter of males. Female only can decide in some small household activities such as food items, buying clothes, utensils, cropping pattern etc. Women are less literate than male so they are backwardness in decision making process. And they also loose self confidence and believe in themselves. In Hindu patriarchal system senior most male or the household head controls the household and agriculture. Thus being the household head, land holding is also in control of the head of family. As he has total control over in the household than the other members he thus all decision making and thus the decision maker. Here in the research area, the decision maker usually does not consult with the family members always. The male does whatever he things right without the consultation of the female. It is not necessary to tell everything and consult it with the female according to the male respondents. He seeks a decision only one if he is going to sell the land or making some serious plan acceptable to the female. In the cropping pattern female have to make more decision then the male. In the field area female are most involved in agricultural activities but they do not control the agriculture production. In the livestock purchase male and female are the main persons consult and final decision makers while the male have a greater input as initiators and final decision maker for it sale. In the case of money lending there, male are core decision maker although they have to talk about it with female but final decisions are made by male. Women are just following it their husband’s decisions. About children’s future male make more decision than the female. Because of female high educational status they decide most things than the female. According to the female and male respondents female can not take right decision about children’s education. Because of their low education status and also lack of self confidence. In the same way about the family planning, male play dominant role. According to the female respondent most decision are made by male. There are greater numbers of male who decide about family planning or its tools. The choices of bridegroom for daughter and about the dowry male have made great decision for it. Although female are also involved in this matter but they are only supporter of male’s decision. Female are also backward in decision about their own education or adult literacy classes. If they want to take this classes they should ask their male counterpart, if male give his permissions they joint classes otherwise they can not attained these classes. Similarly, we can not see women participation in community activities. The study shows that female’s status is weaker as compared to their male counterpart. In each and very aspects females have to inferiority than males.

The major objective of this study was to investigate and describe the decision making power of rural women in terms of social as well as household activities at the research area. Differentiate the role of men and women in decision making process and in identify the factors affecting indecision making process and suggest ways and means in enhancing their participation. The study shows that the female’s status indecision making process in weaker as compared to their male partner. In each and every aspects of decision females have to bear inferiority than males. They have low status in education, occupation, health, participation in community ownership of land, weaker in household decision making process etc. The main contribution of studying is to reveal role, decision making, constraints and opportunity in the household work, education, economic, health, participation in household decision making issues such as reproductive right, specific economic issues and leadership etc. Women have limited access to resource and even they are deprived from their rights. They are disadvantaged, deprived and discriminated socially as well as economically, because of their low educational status and the social norms and values in another main causes of its.

In the context of major decision making of household we found relatively greater involvement of husband than wife. Comparatively Hindu women are oppressed by male but not the Buddhist women are so oppressed because of cultural hospitality of different religion and society. In Hindu culture male is like god, so superior and female is servant of them so inferior. But in Buddhist culture male and female are life partner not superior and inferior in relation. In the Hindu culture, high class caste women were highly exploited and low class caste women were low exploited in this research area. Here, we can coin a theory about Hindu women with cause of cultural relation “High class castes women are highly inferior, low class caste women are low inferior but men are always superior in both class”.

All roles and responsibilities of household works are cover women side and very little decision making of man in these sectors, which shows that the household works are confirmed women in household works. They centered doing out of household works even as they have desired. The females who have higher educational background and employed have higher decision making power than merely illiterate household. As our society is male dominant, male have superior status in most of the case and female have to follow them. It can also be concluded that females have low socioeconomic status and thus lag behind men in household decision making. So it is essential to improve their ability and capacity to participate the major the decision making process. Unless females are brought into the main stream of development process, it is impossible to develop society as well as the nation. For this education and empowerment plays a important role. This study shows that females have to work in household having less decision making. They have to report their male partner’s decision in most of the cases. Though they have responsibility to complete the work, they have no chance to decide for it. If there is any difficulty to complete work, they can not decide at that moment, they have to ask for it. Although women play greater role and take major responsibility in every aspects but in the vital and crucial areas men make decision where women’s role have been narrowed down only to follow or obey.

Acharya, M. (1995), Status of Women in Nepal: Asia Pacific Journal of Rural Development, Kathmandu, Vol. V
Acharya, M. (1995), Twenty Years Women in Development, What we have gained? Kathmandu, CEDA, TU
Acharya, M. and Bennet, L. (1981), The Rural Women of Nepal. An aggregate Analysis and summary of EightVillage Studies in the status of Women in Nepal, Kathmandu, CEDA, TU, Vol.I Part I
Acharya, M. and Bennet, L. (1982), Women and the subsistence Sector Economic participation and Household Decision Making In Nepal. World Bank Staff Working Papers 526, USA: World Bank
Acharya, Meena (1979), The Status of Women in Nepal Statistical Profile of Neplese Women: A Cultural Review, Kathmandu, CEDA, TU, Vol. I
Acharya, Meena (1995), The Status of Female Selected Socio-Cultural and Economic Aspects in Population Monograph of Nepal (Kathmandu, CBS)
Acharya, Meena (1997), Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women in Nepal. A Status Report Submitted to UNFPA, Kathmandu
Agrawal, Beena (1997), A field of One’s own: Gender and Land Right in South Asia. NY: Cambridge University Press
Ahooja Patel, Krisna (1982), Another Development with Women Development Dialogue. 982: (1-2) 17-28.
Barrent, m. (1985), Introduction. In F. Engles’s, Origins of the family, Private property and the state , New York: Penguin.
Basnyat, Khilendra (2000), Need to Eliminate Gender Disparity. The Rising Nepal
Bennett, L. (1981), Dangerous Wives and Sacred Sisters, Social and Symbolic Roles of High Caste Women in Nepal. New York: Colombia University Press.
CBS (20011), Population Monograph of Nepal, Kathmandu, CBS
CBS (20011), Women in Nepal: Some Statical Fact, Kathmandu, CBS
Elliot, Allison (1997), Caste and God of Small things.
Gimire, Durga (1977), Women and Development, Kathmandu, CEDA, TU
Gurung, Jeannette (1999), Searching for Women’s Voice in the Hindu Kush Himalayan ICMOD, Nepal
Jiggins, J. (Consultant, the Netherlands) (1989), How Poor Women Earn Income in Sub-Saharan Africa and what work Against Them. World Development, Vol. 17
Mazumdar, Vina (1982), Another Development with Women: A View from Asia, Uppsala, Vol V1-3: 65-73.
Mishra, K.D. (1989), Priority on Women’s Development, 26th February, The Rising Nepal
Mukhopadhyaya, Swapna and Sudarshan, Ratna M. (1961), Tracking Gender Equity, Under economic reforms- community and change in south Asia.
NDSH, (2001), Nepal Government
Nedell Shar, G. (1991), Women and Decision Making: A successful Marriage made in Nepal.
Neupane, Nita, (1993), A Case Study on Gender Analysis in Chhattis Mauja Irrigation System of Rupendehi District.
Pyakurel, Sucheta and Thakuri, Roshani. (1998), Feminism to Hail or to Tidicule, The Rising Nepal
RDLP, (2075), National Planning Commission
Sherpa, Birman (ST), 2010, Sherpa Buddhist Nuns, Sociology of Happiness in Sherpa Buddhism.
Shrestha, Shanta Laxmi (1935), Gender Sensetive Planning what, why and how in Nepal, Women Awareness Centre Kathmandu.
Stri, Shakti, 1995, Women Development and Democracy: A case study of the socio-economic changes in the status of women in Nepal.
UN, (1999), Research, India, Nepal Gender Links
UNDP (1995), Nepal Human Development Report.
UNICEF, (1949), Children and Women of Nepal: A Situation Analysis , Kathmandu.
Zwarteveen, Margreet (1993), A Gender Perspective to Irrigation Management. In IIMI/IOE Seminar Series on Irrigation Management , Kathmandu, IIMI