Women in Leadership
The Women in Leadership initiative of the Subnational Governance Program is a pivotal intervention within its targeted approach to Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) mainstreaming. The program recognizes the importance of creating spaces and opportunities for women representatives to build networks and alliances across political parties for them to continue their leadership journey. It is also crucial for the program’s GEDSI goal to promote women’s leadership and the participation of marginalized communities in governance, policymaking, and decision-making processes.
This initiative is designed to empower elected women representatives and cultivate broader acceptance of their leadership roles at the local government level. Under this initiative, the program conducts mentorship and capacity-building activities, which are complemented by direct engagement with women representatives in various policy-related initiatives. It is implemented in partnership with the Center for Dalit Women Nepal (CDWN).
In its initial phase, the Women in Leadership initiative provided support to 21 elected Dalit women representatives. Thirteen out of the 21 got candidacy from their parties to contest the local elections in 2022, and nine won, securing their positions as local government leaders. Notably, two representatives from Tikapur Municipality were elected to the District Coordination Committee, two each from Birendranagar and Damak Municipality, and one from Waling Municipality were elected to the Municipal Executive Committee, showcasing the tangible impact of the program.
Nineteen of these women achieved higher positions within their respective political parties. Moreover, 8 of them successfully negotiated with their parties, either securing nominations for the position of ward chair or making the strategic decision not to run for election at all.
In Phase II, the Women in Leadership initiative expanded its scope, engaging a broader spectrum of elected women representatives at both the ward and municipal executive levels. These women are actively involved in budgeting and planning processes within their respective municipalities. Their active participation and advocacy have led to the acceptance of several of their proposals, which have been incorporated into the final budget and planning book.
Another major activity under this initiative is producing inspiring multimedia resources, highlighting women leaders’ achievements and contributions to counter the stereotypical image of a leader, which is usually associated with men.
The program has produced videos and booklets dedicated to promoting women’s leadership across various sectors in Nepal. Through the narratives of women who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in diverse fields, the program seeks to celebrate their success and change the social perception of women’s leadership.