High Quotas in Nepal Elections Promising for Women

Women took advantage of gender quotas to run in the historic election of Nepal’s first Constituent Assembly today. Women’s eNews reports that last year the interim constitution required that 33 percent of parties’ candidates running for office must be women. Though the Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that the parties did not meet the quota of women, the numbers of women running for election were promising for a country in which only 35 percent of women are literate compared to 63 percent of men.

The government elected today will write the country’s new constitution. Groups like the Women Security Pressure Group are working to incorporate equality into that constitution. According to Women’s eNews, the Women Security Pressure group is asking for a 50 percent quota in parliament, stronger programs protecting women from violence, compulsory education, and enforcement of current laws allowing women to inherit property.

The UN News Centre reported increased pre-election violence yesterday. Despite some disturbances in southern regions, and a torched polling station, the overall mood of the elections was optimistic, according to the Washington Post. Preliminary estimates indicate a 60 to 65 percent voter turnout.


Women’s eNews 04/09/08; Xinhua News Agency 04/10/08; The Himilayan Times 04/10/08; UN News Centre 04/09/08; Washington Post 4/10/08

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