In Surkhet, we recently met ‘Sita,’ a young woman running a successful printing business, one that she has established and grown, overcoming numerous obstacles in the process. She shared a story about going to sell a piece of her own land and transfer ownership, when a local official asked her for her husband’s approval and was clearly worried about what she might do with the money. He asked her if she drank alcohol. When she bought more land with the money, the man selling it to her was not submitted to a similar barrage of questions and doubt. Despite good laws for promoting women’s economic empowerment, implementing them and changing perceptions and behaviors remains a challenge.
These are the times in Nepal when the debate is not whether local level election will take place on May 14, as planned, but whether Madheshi forces will allow it. Election atmosphere is building across the country. People have started to discuss leaders and parties they will vote for, even predict who will win most seats in the polls that are taking place after two decades.