Deprived Tarai Madhesh Women


Deprived Tarai Madhesh Women

Tarai Madhesh women are considered as most vulnerable group of Nepal because of very low level of socio economic status. Health, education, access to land and property, employment political representation determines the status of individual or groups1. Studies carried out on status of women on basis of development indicators finds out that Tarai Madhesi women status is comparatively lower than other groups of women. Tarai Madhes consists of high castes groups Janajatis, Muslim and Dalit who are disempowered respectively2.

The poor status of Tarai Madhes women is determined by various socio economic structures like caste, culture, class, ethnicity and religion3 that come as barriers in terms of accessing to the services. The barriers are social cultural norms and beliefs which is deep-rooted in the Tarai Madhes community such as preference of son, female infanticide, women considered as family Izzat4. These kinds of practices have limited Tarai Madhes women within the four walls of the house.

Besides these cultural barriers carried out, the study also comes up with other stopping factors like, lack of awareness, poor economic status, and communication gap, geographical location. These very factors also affect Tarai Madhesi women to reach to the services and opportunities.

Education plays vital role and is chief defiance of the society to fight from the superstitious and taboos but the literacy rate of the Tarai Madehsi girls is slightly low4. The Tarai Madhesi community girl have to drop the school is very early ages. They couldn’t pursue higher education either.

There are several Tarai Madhes based lower castes Dalits living highly discriminative as untouchable who is restricted in public affairs and spaces. Despite of law formulated against discrimination, these groups are still prohibited by upper class groups. Development opportunities for them always turn out to be as a fruit falling from sky.

National/ official language is one of the barriers that disappoint Tarai Madesh people. In the public space and administration the use of official language by service givers becomes a headache for Tarai Madhesh women who could not understand.

Women’s status varies on depending on their class, caste, ethnicity, religion and age5. There is several barriers linkage with caste, ethnic, religion and age for Tarai Madhesi women put on forward by various studies.

However, there are some other unheeded underlying obstructions for Tarai Madesh women that discourage them to reach to the services and opportunities like, discrimination in al sectors, being ‘other’ not from hill origin / considered as outsiders, Indians6, criticized on appearance, attire, color, skin, feeling of alienation. The programs and policies for them are unfriendly and unfavorable. The system with lengthy process in service sectors becomes beyond the understanding for Tarai Madhes women. There have had been several examples and experience faced by Tarai Madhes group while reaching to the services and opportunities which are uncovered in the studies.

This is how Tarai Madhesi women are facing multiple forms of discrimination along with regional, cultural and linguistic discrimination in comparison to other women. They have never been fully integrated in the overall political, social, economic and human development agenda of the country7. As a result, they have been backward since unification period of Nepal.

While reviewing, current socio economic status of women, it seems enriching than before. But, there has not been expected development as per the government plan and projects describes. Tarai Madhes women still are in discrimination by traditions and state government policies implemented. Even the donor agencies who have been speaking for the inclusion of women in every sphere do not seem to be specific about the Madhesi women8.

In order to empower Tarai Madhes women equally in all sectors, every obstruction should be explored and analyzed either it is intercultural barriers or external factors stopping to Tarai Madhes women.

  1.  S. Maharjan and R. K Sah,. (2012). Madhesh Women in Nepal- A Rapid Assessment of Available Literature.
  2. L. Bennett. D.R. Dahal. P Govinasamy.. (2008). Caste, ethnic and regional identity in Nepal: Further analysis of the 2006 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey    Kathmanu: Nepal Demographic and Health Survey. pp. 1-36.
  3. S. Maharjan and R. K Sah,. (2012). Madhesh Women in Nepal- A Rapid Assessment of Available Literature.
  4. Prashant Jha, Nepali Times, Madhesi women, 2008
  5. -2013. Gender review of national energy policies and programmes in Nepal. Asian Development Bank.
  6. ArjunGunaratne, (2005)
  7. Kailash Prasad Deo, Madhesi women and political mainstream. The Himalayan Times, 2009. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  8. ibid

Author: Srizana Chaudhary

Photo: Prabhat Jha

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