Every time Bijaya Dhakal goes out to meet people and tell them what she does for a living, the simple task becomes an act of courage requiring nerves of steel. Dhakal is the founder of Nepal’s first and only organisation of women sex workers now trying to make the state and society listen to a community long hushed by poverty and discrimination.
When Bina Tamang was told that she could earn money by not felling trees in the tiny forest that serves as the source of fuel and fodder for 65 families in her area, the 27-year-old was incredulous.
Nine years ago, Bhagwati Devi Gautam was a field labourer in Rukum, one of Nepal’s worst insurgency-hit districts. Hurrying to attend a programme on the occasion of International Women’s Day, she was forced to halt at a police checkpoint for the mandatory examination of her handbag.
With the May 28 target for a new constitution approaching and Nepal’s coalition government admitting it would not make the deadline, women are pushing for rights they want enshrined in the document.
The temperature is 10 degrees below freezing and the wind is like a hurricane, threatening to sweep away the unwary from the treacherously slippery mountain slope that has been home to Suzanne Al Houby and 39 other iron-willed women for almost a fortnight.
A knock on the door of his home in Bhutan one midnight turned middle-level government official Balaram Paudyal into a fugitive overnight, after he managed to elude policemen arresting him for "anti-government activities", and then fled the country.
As ‘Flames of the Snow’, a documentary on the ten-year civil war waged by Nepal’s Maoist party played at Kathmandu’s Kumari cinema recently, Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" saluted women who fought in his People’s Liberation Army (PLA).