Yesterday evening I read in a news update: "Tomorrow is a nation-wide holiday for International Women's Day". It clarified that it was an off day for both women and men. Even though a holiday for all the female staff at my organisation today was a work day for me and Bina di. To be fair, aside from travelling back to Kathmandu, we didn't do much work.
What a great day it is, I think, for men and women at all levels to reflect on the roles of women at home and outside, in politics, economy, and religion, and about their participation in decision making.
And then I read other news headlined Debate over Nepali women’s right to pass on citizenship to children reignites as House Committee holds discussions on controversial provisions, which made me mad and sad. I am furious at our leaders who are so insensitive towards women and their rights. I am sad because my eyes have witnessed a close friend fighting for her children's right to their Nepali citizenship. I have seen her struggle, tiredness and frustrations.
What a huge slap this is to the Nepali women. While this day is about creating space for women, our government is shrinking the already very small space.
Despite all this, I don't want to stop hoping. I hope things will change for girls and women in this country. I hope our leaders will, one day, advocate for the rights of their female citizens.
On this day I am thinking about the didibahinis in my neighbourhood and their hard work and dedication. I am thinking about the girls and women I met yesterday and their stories and struggles. I am thinking about many mothers, who for different reasons, are raising their child(ren) alone. I am thinking about women, like my friend, who are fighting their case with the government, and of those who have given up.
PS: didi in this picture is from Sunsari. She sells roasted corns on the side of the hotel I normally stay at when there. Her life is an interesting one and will inspire many, which I hope to share one day with you here. I have her consent too. :)
- Fujifilm X100F