She Leads – Women Leadership Programme
Federalism has created a historic opportunity for some 14’000 Nepalese women, over half of them from socially discriminated groups, to serve for the first time as elected representatives at local level. However, most elected women at local level remain excluded from political decision making due to discrimination based on patriarchal norms and values, and lack of resources and networks. The project promotes women leadership to support the peace process and to prevent future conflicts.
Conflict & fragility
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Democratic participation and civil society
- Newly elected women engage effectively in political dialogue at the local level.
- Family members of women leaders, including men, boys, and community leaders ensure and encourage women’s political participation.
- Political parties ensure women’s involvement in political discussions and dialogues at the local level.
- Improved women’s knowledge, attitude and skills on their political participation
- Women leaders run evidence based policy advocacy forums at the local level
- Elected women improved their knowledge on sectoral programs and committees and their functions in their municipalities.
- Family members of women leaders are supportive by assisting women in tasks outside of their elected responsibilities (i.e. household duties)
- Mayors and Ward Chairpersons supported environment for women counterparts to participate in decision-making of local governments
- Men, boys and community leaders agreed to support women’s roles and participation in politics
- Improved attitude and perceptions of local level party leaders on gender equality, inclusion and women’s empowerment in politics
- Women leaders participate in local level political dialogues and party committees
- Local media promote political inclusion and women’s engagement in political parties
- Other international or foreign NGO North
The new constitution of Nepal guarantees the right of women to be represented in all bodies of the federal state on the basis of the principle of proportional inclusion. Women’s effective inclusion in political decision making is central to the success of federalism in Nepal and the conclusion of the country’s peace process. After the successful completion of the first elections under the new federal system last year, women make up 41% in local governments, 34% in the federal and 34% in the State (Provincial) assemblies. Nepal ranks top in South Asia on women’s inclusion in parliament, and well above the global average (23%). Moreover, the reservation policy on election resulted in the inclusion of 20% Dalit women – the most discriminated among population group - in local governments.
However, while women’s numerical representation in local governments is impressive, their meaningful participation in political decision making is lagging. A year into their terms in office, most elected women at the local level report being excluded from meetings and being told that their role is merely symbolic. Elected women representatives at local level remain largely sidelined. The situation is even more discouraging for women from disadvantaged groups, such as Dalits, at the ward level (lowest administrative tier) as they continue to face systemic, institutionalized and pervasive discrimination because of informal institutions (e.g. patriarchal norms) and their low level of economic status and social networks.
To fully engage women representatives in local level political decision making, they need to build the skills, networks and resources necessary to fulfill their new leadership roles. They require the tools and means to respond to the expectations put towards them by their voters in order to have a chance for reelection. The support of family members (fathers, brothers, husbands, in-laws and sons) is essential to free women from their household chores, and the support by men counterparts and community leaders is crucial for women to assume their political roles outside the household. Moreover, the support of political parties is required. Although women are now in elected office, they do not necessarily have the backing of their own parties, or any involvement in political party decision making.
|Objectives||Women demonstrate strengthened leadership and meaningful participation of women in political decision making in Nepal.|
The proposed project aims to enable 781 elected women representatives (EWRs) in local governments to exercise their political rights and leadership capacity with the support of their family members, including men and boys and community leaders. Hence, the primary beneficiaries are the elected women representatives in 40 local level governments in SDC’s geographic focus of State 1.
A total of 3,138 (835 W, 2283 M, 20 LGBTI) secondary beneficiaries are targeted by the project. They are family members (370 M, 370 W) of EWRs, 411 elected male representatives, civil society representatives (805), 400 young men and community leaders, and 782 political leaders (60 W, 722 M).
Empowered women political leadership will benefit 2.9 million citizens (48% from discriminated groups) out of a total population of 4.5 million in State 1.
Results from previous phases: N/A
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
International or foreign NGO
|Coordination with other projects and actors||The proposed project complements the planned multi-donor Provincial and Local Governance Support Programme (PLGSP) that aims to develop institutions and capacity of sub-national governments to fulfil their new roles and responsibilities. It will also complement the forthcoming SDC bilateral State Support Program in State 1. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will co-finance She Leads with SDC in State 1 through a basket fund modality. The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) intends to join the project in the first half of 2019.|
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 1'250'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 200'000|
|Project phases||Phase 1 01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022 (Current phase)|