Now is a critical time for Nepal’s Dalit women. Although they have gained access to local decision making processes through the Local Election Act of 2015, there is still a lot of resistance to Dalits – women in particular – participating in local governance. If the current group of elected Dalit women representatives cannot prove themselves to be effective leaders, there is a very real risk that the policy’s usefulness will be questioned. Dalit women could see their best chance at making transformative changes to their communities disappear with the stroke of a pen. That is why Center for Dalit Women Nepal’s work is absolutely critical at this time.
CDWN has positioned itself to influence policy and ideas that improve Dalit and marginalized women’s participation in the public sphere through capacity development and mentoring, ensure the meaningful participation of Dalit and marginalized women in governance and decision making, and protect progress already achieved through legislative and constitutional provisions.
The Inter-Party Dalit Women’s Network, formed in conjunction with CDWN in 2016, allows Dalit women leaders to formulate, discuss and disseminate their ideas across political and geographic boundaries. This network includes members of parliament, committee members from all Nepali political parties and other politically active women. CDWN also maintains a presence through its provincial committees which act as satellite offices around the country. Finally, CDWN is implementing a number of donor-driven projects across Nepal.