Dalit women in Nepal have made a number of important strides in recent years, most notably the Local Election Act of 2015 which mandates that every Ward Committee must include at least one Dalit woman. The 2017 local elections brought 6,567 Dalit women to the table, giving them the unprecedented opportunity to access decision making and raise issues affecting their communities across the nation. Their inclusion in local politics has also had a tremendous impact on their standing in the community and sense of self-worth, beginning the process of undoing a lifetime of exclusion and internalized oppression.
Because they traditionally have been excluded from politics and positions of power, recently-elected Dalit women representatives often don’t have the experience or skill set that they need to make their voices heard and have a meaningful impact on local decision making. Center for Dalit Women Nepal has been working closely with Dalit women through a variety of approaches including mentoring, providing trainings and workshops that build their capacity as leaders and ensure that they have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their new roles.
Center for Dalit Women Nepal also works with members of parliament, providing them with evidence-based advocacy materials that advance the cause of women and marginalized communities, and lobbying to improve policies related to participation, inclusion and affirmative action.
Starting in 2018, CDWN established the Eva Kasell Social Justice Award which honors a human rights activist whose work has made a particularly important contribution to the goal of a society free from gender and caste discrimination. Past recipients include Uma Devi Badi (2018) and Tilak Pariyar (2019).