Valerie Julliand, UN Resident Coordinator for Nepal, speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Kathmandu, Nepal, March 7, 2018. "Women's fight for equality is a constant fight, which can never end so has to be guarded very safely," Valerie Julliand told Xinhua exclusively on the eve of International Women's Day 2018. (Xinhua/Sunil Sharma)
KATHMANDU, March 8 (Xinhua) -- "Women's fight for equality is a constant fight, which can never end so has to be guarded very safely," Valerie Julliand, UN Resident Coordinator for Nepal, told Xinhua exclusively on the eve of International Women's Day 2018.
Nepal is among a few countries in the world to have women as head of state and also has remarkable women representation at the parliament.
Moreover, Nepal's constitution promulgated in September 2015 is regarded as very progressive when it comes to inclusion not just of women but of other disadvantaged and under privileged communities.
"Politically, Nepali women have 40 percent power in local level and 30 percent in central level. I must say It's a big progress. Now, the constitution and its provisions should be implemented," Valerie, who has been working in Nepal since last two years, told Xinhua.
She was of view that women should be given every opportunity and access to education and economy for empowerment. Stating that men and women are two legs of the country, Valerie stressed that both the legs are equally important for any country to prosper and move forward.
Though the women's movement expedited after restoration of the democracy in 1990 in Nepal, the inclusion agenda was institutionalized only after 2006 people's movement.
Nepal set a milestone in the field of women rights after appointing the first female President, Speaker and Chief Justice after 2015. Currently, out of 275 lawmakers in the House of Representatives, 90 are women while 22 among 59 members of National Assembly are women.
With the significant reservation, women are moving forward in the leadership positions in different sectors, which is commendable. Besides politics, Nepali women have taken a leap forward in civil service among many, which is often termed as secure and stable job.
According to Public Service Commission, a constitutional body responsible for recruitment, there were only 67,435 women applicants in the fiscal year 2007-2008, however the number has surged to 383,485 in the year 2016-2017.
"Awareness and advocacy are very important. If women are intellectual and have access to education and economic opportunities, empowerment is possible," said Valerie, who have travelled to various districts of Nepal including the remote villages of far western region.
She also noted that the United Nations has been working with Nepali government, lawmakers, judiciary and executives and with national and international civil society in laws, policies and capacity building in community level.
She informed that UN has been working closely with authorities to ensure that the new civil code and criminal code is amended in a proper way that it will reflect necessary measures that should be taken if the rights of women are violated.
With an experience of 23 years in UN system, the French born country representative accepts that that even in the modern era of 2018, there are still so much inequalities in regards to men and women.
While sharing her personal experiences, the single mother Valerie said that women really have to work hard, as twice as the man to achieve the best in both family and career together.
"My message for Nepali women on the occasion of this International Women's Day would be please continue the fight and never ever give up. It is important to understand that women are equal as men and you have the same human rights," Valerie said.