“Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.”
At Rukmini Foundation (RF), our goal has always been to challenge double standards of patriarchy through education and empowerment of the women of our nation. Consequently, we celebrated the 111th International Women’s Day (IWD) with Advocate Didi Rukma Karmacharya, to educate our community about women’s rights and legal recourse available to us. Living amidst the global unrest over the society’s treatment of women, we chose our topics to reflect our concerns and dreams for women’s rights improvement in our community.
RF Didi Apsara Adhikari kicked off the project by sharing a video with the participants regarding gender based discrimination women face in our community. In form of a musical drama, the video showcased various forms of discrimination women face, and often these discriminations are so ingrained in our society, we do not think twice before imposing said discrimination.
“A girl should know how to cook and clean”, “if you don’t learn to do your chores, what will your in-laws say in the future?”, “it is a woman’s job to cook and clean, not a man’s”, “a girl should not be opinionated, it is unseemly”; and so on and on.
This is the basic script every girl on our society hears from their early childhood. They are conditioned from an early age to not expect the same right and freedom the men in their society enjoyed. No matter how educated, qualified or hardworking a girl, our society often only values her as a homemaker – not an individual. Didi Apsara discussed the video , going over the social conditioning that happens from an early age and we often participate in without thinking. Such statements of expectations from family and friends condition young girls to be afraid of having dreams and goals of their own. It adds to the struggles of girls and women that want to pursue their education, career or any life path aside from the one prescribed by patriarchy.
Such conversations are very important for Rukmini Foundation as these conversations spread ideas, knowledge, and support through our community; helping and encouraging women to break free the binds of social discrimination. For this reason, during the second part of our 111th IWD celebration, guest of honour Advocate Didi Rukma Karmacharya held an informative and education session about Women’s Rights.
Didi Rukma Karmacharya talked about what exactly women’s rights mean and includ. She started conversations about what violence against women and different kinds of violence women face during their lifetime. Common reasons for violence against a woman’s rights and her person, and what support women had from National Law were some of the important topics Didi Rukma covered.
Ruled by patriarchy, women are primary victims of domestic violence in our community. So, Didi Rukma discussed different ways to reduce domestic violence in our society, and ways for women to report any violence they witness or experience to the police. She emphasized the importance of knowing our rights and support available from our legal system. Empowerment; after-all, stems from education and understanding.
As world renowned feminist and Advocate Michelle Obama once said: “No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of it’s women and deprives itself of the contribution of half its citizens.”
These conversation about women’s rights, resources and legal rights, educate and empower us. Didi Rukma was also shared a short video presentation that discussed various topics like security a good income and financial independence provides a women, different financial support programs available for women, a wife’s rights to her husband’s property and the importance of treating all our children equally, regardless of their gender. The video also emphasized for the participants that Women’s rights are Human rights, and are entitled to safety and security offered by our society to men.
To cap off our 111th IWD event, Rukmini Foundation Didi Lalita Lammichane organized an educational game. The game participants were each given a balloon of different colour and told the last remaining balloon would be the winner. The players went about popping each other’s balloon’s until there was only one balloon left. However, Didi Lalita announced that there were no winners in the game as she has not told the participants that they were allowed to pop other’s balloons.
This simple and game Didi Lalita organized was a great learning opportunity for all the participants and observers of the game. Didi Lalita told the participants the importance of recognizing that while we share many things in common, we each also have our own strength and characteristics.For us to succeed as a society, we need to support and build each other up. If we are all focused on pulling someone down, our society will collapse into itself.
Celebrating, educating, and building each other up, Rukmini Foundation celebrated the 111th International Women’s Day with great joy and earnestness. We extend our most earnest regards and sincere gratitude to Didi Apsara, Rukma and Lalita for providing priceless knowledge and information in fun and captivating way to empower the women of our community; and making this celebration possible.
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- Conversation with Didi Wong: education,communication and development - August 31, 2019