Equality and discrimination in Nepal

A woman  working at a jute factory in Biratnagar, Nepal
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The DWCP 2013-2017 for Nepal reflects the priorities of the tripartite constituents in Nepal. Gender equality, social inclusion and elimination of discrimination in employment and occupation are some of the key priority areas identified in the DWCP under various outcomes and indicators. 

Within the current DWCP, improved labour market governance and industrial relations have been identified as one of the key priority areas in Nepal. A set of new legislations related to the world of work is being drafted which ensures gender equality at the workplace, in terms of employment opportunity, promotion, training and access to information and benefits.

The draft new Labour Act (bill) incorporates provision for gender equality and non-discrimination in the world of work. Some new provisions are added which are directly related to women workers. For example, women workers are given public holidays on 8 March (International Women's Day) and maternity leave has been extended to 98 days. While employment contracts based on discrimination and against the freedom of association will be nullified.

Another priority area under the current DWCP is the promotion of fundamental principles and rights at work wherein ILO support includes elimination of child labour, forced labour and promotion of safe migration. Gender dimension of labour migration has been addressed in all bilateral agreements, inter-government cooperation and collaboration and pre-departure training curriculum designed for migrant workers.

Policy reform initiative of the ILO consistently advocated with the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MOLE) to ensure participation of women and other disadvantaged groups when conducting stakeholders' consultation for the National Employment Policy. The process has been fruitful in mainstreaming gender and social inclusion issues in the Policy. The National Employment Policy has been endorsed by the Government of Nepal in March 2015.

The ILO has been closely working with the employers’ and workers’ organizations to promote gender equality and non-discrimination in the world of work in Nepal. The Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) has been promoting gender sensitive human resources policies through a series of training activities. Trade unions have been well sensitized on the issues of gender equality and non-discrimination through various training courses on trade union education and ILO Conventions.  They have also been sensitized on recommendations related to gender equality as well as other tools like gender mainstreaming and analysis, sexual harassment at the workplace, HIV and AIDS Education at the workplace and gender audit.

As a part of its Work in Freedom project, the ILO developed community awareness and women empowerment modules for prevention of trafficking in Nepal. The strategy adopted by the programme is benefiting women directly and indirectly even men of the same community—in providing conceptual clarity on why women have to be empowered.

The ILO Office in Nepal was one of the first field offices to conduct the ILO’s Participatory Gender Audit in October 2001. It conducted the “Gender Audit Facilitators” Training Workshop for its constituents. The Workers’ and Employer’s organizations have requested technical support to conduct Gender Audits in their respective organizations.