Participatory Democracy and Federalization of The Country – What does it mean for Feminist Political Agenda
Nepal is in transition. Great political change has been happened through people’s movement in 2006, which over through monarchy and established republic Nepal. That movement has established many other agendas relating with social and economical transformation. Main streaming the marginalized groups based on gender, caste, region, ethnicity, class etc. was the mission of the movement. For the reason, federalism, participatory democracy, inclusion, gender equality, secularism, good governance are major agendas in the process and institutionalizing all these issues are in high priority. First step on the institutionalizing process is promulgation of long awaiting new constitution, which is still under drafting process.
From the feminist standpoint all these issues, demand something different meaning. Women have not been recognized as fully independent citizen by state. Discrimination between father and mother in regards to producing citizen identity of children is one of the examples of this. Every person including man and woman should depend on male relatives to produce citizenship card and women have kept away from right to descent.
Women are in majority as population, but they have been subordinated and marginalized and kept in distance from decision-making. All state mechanism relating with policy-making and law formulation, is still being mono-sex dominated. Changing the context and gender balancing and sensitizing the state mechanism and citizen’s attitude is crucial to achieve substantive equality through functional participatory democracy with feminist perspective. Accepting the concept of diversity within women, abolition of caste system and mainstreaming the diversified peripheral groups is heart of the inclusive democracy.
Nepalese society is deeply influenced by patriarchal norms and values. Women have been commoditized. For instance, women are not free even to keep their own identity and address consistent. Somebody-else decide for her present and future. They are notfree to choose their profession. Violence against women is big problem. They are not safe even within family and by relatives. Rather creating conducive environment to make them safe and confident, society blame her back and state ask her to proof the incident with evident. Minimize the patriarchy influence to make state and society gender sensitive in action is big responsibility for the feminist movement.
State power should be de-centralized to bring the governance close to people fairly. In the process women should be equally part of the every mechanism and step to make forward-looking change with feminist perspective. For the time being state should follow affirmative action program in the area, where women’s participation is in scarce.
In conclusion, promoting participation with quality and change in attitude and behavior of all including individual citizen upto state mechanism is necessary to achieve feminist agenda in the process of entering into federalism as well as institutionalizing functional and participatory democracy in the process of social transformation.
Key words: Participation, Federalism, gender equality, Democracy