Activism

National Women's Social Forum 2009

06 Mar 2009

National Women's Social Forum for " A Federal Democratic Nepal based on Equality

and Social Justice is Possible: We can bring this "

International Women Worker's Day 2009

Social Forum:

Social forum is an open platform to express the voice of suppressed, voiceless and socially

exploited groups. Groups who have been forced to become underprivileged due to various

[prejudiced practices within socio, economic and political spheres will come together to opined

on their struggle and issues of marginalization and develop concrete and appropriate strategies

to ensure their fundamental human rights are ensured collectively in these forums. This is a

forum that analyses underpinning factors of marginalization, in the present context of Corporate

Globalization, Free market policies and dominant neo-liberal policies. This forum provides a

breaking forum to connect dominant Global issues to the National realities. Collective actions for

Social Justice, Speaking out for Equality are some of the ingrained values of these forums.

The campaign of Social Forum started in Brazil that flowed into Mumbai of India, moving into

Karachi of Pakistan through Burma, Caracas of Venezuela, Nairobi of Kenya, Sri Lanka and

different nations of the world. Nepal will be the next venue also it for the South Asia Social

Forum to be planned near future. Following the main theme/slogan of all the social forums in the

world ‘Another World is Possible’, the women of Nepal are starting the process with the main

slogan- " A Federal Democratic Nepal based on Equality and Social Justice is possible- We can

bring Changes."

Social Political Context:

The historical and revolutionary People's of 2006 paved way for the First Inclusive Constituent

Assembly( CA) Elections in 2008 creating hope for those groups who have been deprived from

their basic fundamental rights by various structures. This was the struggle for Conflict

transformation to a New Nepal and it has been made possible by civil society and progressive

political forces This became possible due to struggle by progressive political forces and civil

society along with contributions for all the groups against autocratic regime.

The struggle and contribution of Women against autocracy and oppression has been historic and

heroic. Women took decisive and active role in various fronts of struggle. At present the process

of institutionalizations of the achievements of Jan Aandolan-2 has been begun through

constitution drafting process. The elected Government has started its function however the

expectations of the people are still far behind. Power structures, values and system of

Governance has not been changed which makes the delivery part even more difficult. Geopolitical

situation of the country is also creating additional complication to achieve the expected

Goal.

Rationale of National Women Social Forum Nepal (NWSF):

Nepal, at this juncture of history is at critical transitional phase. Careful efforts from all

stakeholders can transform Nepal from Feudal Unitarian state to Federal democratic republic,

from exclusive to inclusive and from feudalistic to Equality based. However this is not an easy

task to achieve. Political transformation alone without transforming social relations of production

can't bring the desired changes. To achieve the desired changes and make people feel the sense

of democracy in their daily life, present Government of Nepal has initiated different programs

focusing on marginalized communities on one hand, and the process of constitution drafting has

been initiated on the other. These achievement gives hope that the Dream of Nepali people can

become reality. However, deep embedded feudal patriarchal values in all spheres of society

including within the structures of progressive political forces and civil society movements can

create difficulty to achieve the change. Beside this, geopolitical situation of Nepal and already

deeply ingrained neo-liberal policies within structures of Governance also needs careful analysis

and concentrated efforts to convert these challenges into opportunities. Nepali women played

decisive role to achieve present political transformation. Their Nurturing role and wisdom has

facilitated progressive leaders to reach to the thousands of people residing in remote areas,

organize them and flourish the movement. Women's role as peace builders and caretaker of their

families during violent political conflict has played very important role to maintain the social

relations and keep society functioning. Strong position and actions of women within People's

Liberation Army of Maoist has contributed to establish the party and contribute to establish the

party as one of the biggest party of the country.

In present political phase of Nepal, this contribution of women is seemingly being undermined.

Tendency to forget women's contribution and marginalize them is being commonly practiced

even by Progressive Political Parties who are leading the country. Political parties are repeatedly

violating their own commitment to include at least 33 percent women in all structures of

Governance. Violence against women is increasing and established culture of impunity is creating

extremely difficult environment for women to access justice. Thousands of women who has been

displaced, abused (physically, mentally, sexually), tortured by structures of power during Violent

political conflict are waiting for justice. Thousands of women who contributed to the people's war

together with their fellow cadres within People's Liberation Army are still waiting for reintegration

within National Security System. Women are forced to continue stereotypical role given to them

by society as caregivers. This situation is raising questions on Political parties' commitment for

social justice. Creating challenge for peace in country, these issues are being undermined with

justification prioritizing issues related with Federalism, distribution of resources, and other which

are considered as hard and pertinent. Women don't believe on this. From women's perspective

peace can't get institutionalized unless values, structures and institutions get transformed

through participatory, empowering, transparent and non-corrupt processes. Nepali politicians

and civil society needs to be reminded about that. However this is not an easy task this

possesses different challenges. Some of them are as follows:

The challenge of redefining politics

The challenge of globalization and global governance

The challenge of gendering civil society

National Women's Social Forum Nepal is a platform of all women to discuss collectively and find

ways to overcome those challenges. This is also a forum where women can discuss issue

concerning to their life, livelihood, dignity, freedom and identity. In present political context

where 14 committees including a Constitutional Committee, 10 thematic committees and three

procedural committees have been formed and started their work to collect people's voices and

issues to be included into new constitution. This forum is believed to facilitate to collect women's

voices and submit to the CA members and CA committees.

In this context, NWSF is a common meeting ground of large number of Nepalese women for

open dialogue as an important mechanism for developing a new vision and a long term strategy

for making just society where the fundamental human rights of people are respected and

guaranteed. The NWSF will raise the local and national social issues with the current global

context and its impact on the national context that will be discussed heavily among the

participants to draw common consensus.

Date of the National Women's Social Forum ( NWSF)
7th, 8th and 9th March, 2009
Kathmandu