Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Wake up to be bold for change -by Machchhe Gurung


I was born in a remote village, never felt discriminated while rising in the Gurung family one of the indigenous communities of Nepal until I was in the school. After my School Leaving Certificate (SLC), my father decided to send me to the city for my higher education I was at the age of 16 When I left home for the first time. I started my Intermediate Level Education at Ratna Rajya Laxmi
Beautiful Machche Gurung
Campus. I still remember when my father went to Kathmandu or Dharan for any purpose; he used to bring the bundle copies, pens, geometry box, calculator and other stationery items for his children. He always encouraged all of us to study hard.  treated equally to all 5 daughters and my brother regarding education. When I joined my college, I started working in a boarding school as a primary teacher, then I did my education and work in parallel. My elder sister and I were staying in uncle's house in Kathmandu. My sister cooked for me, so I didn’t have to cook. One day, when she came late from campus, I had to stay empty stomach because I didn’t know how to make food. I had never experienced cooking because I was too little and I was not able to make food for our big family, and my mother didn’t allow me to do that. I usually worked outer sphere of the job such as cutting grass, collecting woods from the jungle and playing with the boys, but, my father never interrupted me to do all those. I loved and enjoyed doing that outer sphere jobs.


When I grew up was living in the capital city I heard the neighbors talking about women and their assumptions what women should do and should not do. I was shocked because they were not my family members thought I couldn’t resist them because I was also a member of the same society where thousands of people were living. They always talked about the role of the woman, and being a daughter, the girl should do the household work, and outer-sphere jobs are for men, not for women.

After completing my first year of exam, I went to the village to see my parents, at that time my
Journalist/writer of this article and activist Machchhe Gurung
mother realized I had been grown up enough to do the household chores then, she taught me how to them as a woman. Being the daughter of Gurung, my mother taught me to make Radhi, Rakshi (home-made Alcohol) and sell Roti, and Nepalese Food Dhido, which is very compulsory in Gurung's festivals and rituals. Before that, my mother did all the household work by herself. She must have feared whether I would burn my hands while I was cooking. I was surprised to hear those from her all that. Then after I was told being as women not to talk with the boy, not to stay out late night, women should be at household sphere etc. I didn’t want to hurt my mother and I learned from her whatever she wanted me to do. I thought those were the skills, which help my day-to-day life easier. When I was aware of all them, I realized the social norms and values which are made by patriarchal society to control the women's. Then, I decided to work for women and to break all the walls, so-called norms and values, but I didn’t know how to begin to work for women. By that time, I was working for the informal education for child labor supported by the German Technical Support program.

When I studied Masters Degree in Sociology and Anthropology, I got to know more about the society, our social structure, and hierarchy, family and the role of the household head. I was getting a broader view of the women's issues and the gender role. The women's role and the men's role are set by the society on the basis of gender. Then, I got a chance to participate in women empowerment training, then I felt like I opened my mind to work for women. By that time, I got so many proposals to marry; I talked with them directly who came to my house with their parents. I refused all of them because I didn’t get anything that I wanted a man should have. When the men asking me very easily to marry, I realized they felt proud being as a man so they can purpose easily, few men have nothing, no job, no education, no future plan, though they felt proud in their masculinity. So, I realized and decided to fight against the society where women are suppressed by this so-called supremacy culture.



After that, I joined the NGO, which is working for Women rights and child education during my work I felt I was discriminated by my  Boss then I resigned and joined media to speak out and raise the women's issues. I kept talking about women's rights, violence against women, women empowerment, women's participation on the governing body of local level to the policy level. After that, I joined Radio Sagarmatha, the first South Asian Community Radio. I raised the voice of voiceless people, marginalized and poor women, a woman with a disability, a disadvantaged and marginalized woman in Nepal. I did advocacy through the radio to make women aware of their rights, women's situation, and violence against women, women empowerment and women's representative in government. Media raised the issues of unheard women and brought out the unwritten story to the public that are the reasons we became able to ensure women's representation in Nepal new constitution and women's rights as fundamental rights.

Somehow, the time has been changed; women are aware of their rights, speak out about their problems publicly. Women's issues became a public issue, though we still need to talk more about it to raise awareness about the women's rights to establish as human rights. I work for women and good governance as a media person, but we still need to do more work on it. This year, we celebrated 107th international women's day with the slogan "Be Bold for Change". Change begins from the mind, not from the slogan. Many of the leaders always announce we need to empower women and need to have the equal right with the men, but how we can empower women and give them the equal right if they never implement it in practice. If we look back, we achieved many things regarding women's rights. We have women on the leading and the most prestigious position as President, the house of the Speaker, and had Supreme Judge. Besides that, there was 29 percent of women's participation in parliament. Though, millions of women are still remaining backward because of patriarchy and patriarchal psychology.

Women in the village are still living in the Cowshed and losing their lives. They do not know what is women's right. They don’t even know if anything wrong happens to them where they need to go and tell their problems because if they go out and bring their issues out, they are considered moral-less. So, we need to raise awareness in the remote village area of the country. Whenever we talk about the women participation in the government it is very hard to bring them to the post because men do not want to see women as equal to them so they are left behind. I am not being biased, but their thought is always patriarchal, biased, and discriminated towards women. To be bold, and change, first, we need to change and be bold for ourselves then should start talking about other women. Therefore, we can raise the voice against violence against women, women representative on a policy level. Many times, women activists demanded women's representation should be mandatory to all forms of governing body of local to central but the implementation is very much lower, therefore, we need to wake up to be bold and do revolutionary activities to ensure women's rights and to achieve our goals together!



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