We used to move freely in the forests. But now we have to take permission to visit even our own community forest, including national parks, says Raute Mukhiya, one of the respondents whose voice was included in the recently launched Economic Empowerment of Indigenous Women in Nepal''. The book is based on research into whether indigenous women are benefiting from existing general laws/policies and provides overview and analysis of the vulnerability, multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination faced by them, particularly in the economic sphere.
At the book launch in Kathmandu on 11 August, Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizen Tham Maya Thapa suggested indigenous communities to gradually transform their occupation without deteriorating core traditional values to economically empower themselves. Country Director of UNDP Nepal, Renaud Meyer said, "Indigenous people are the wealth and economic agents to transform Nepal into a prosperous country they should be equipped with skills, knowledge and opportunities to learn".
Among the book's most notable findings, over 85 percent of survey respondents and interviewees in the book said they have no idea about federalism, while almost 14 percent said they see no opportunity for indigenous women's economic empowerment even in the federal context. Giving a snapshot of the book, Research Team Leader Krishna B. Bhattachan revealed that it is difficult to materialize economic empowerment of indigenous women through existing laws and policies unless they are amended at the federal, provincial and local levels. The research also shows that most of the respondents are facing different types of discrimination, with difference in wages as compared to men among the most common complaints.
The research covered seven provinces including 500 families of the Raute, Majhi, Tharu, Thakali and Yakkha communities. The book was produced by National Indigenous Women's Federation with technical support from UNDP Nepal.According to the census of 2011, indigenous people make up over 35 percent of the total population.
Sourec: UNDP in Nepal