SYANGJA, May 19: There are five municipalities in Syangja district and all of these have women in leadership roles. Seema Chhetri from the CPN - UML has been elected mayor of Putalibazar Municipality while the remaining four municipalities have women as their deputy mayor. This has been taken as a huge leap in promoting women’s inclusion in leadership roles by the district’s residents and civil society leaders.
“Local election results have been very much exciting and are remarkable in terms of women’s inclusion at the decision-making level. We are proud of the gains delivered by the elections. With women leaders in all municipalities of the district, we look forward for even more inclusive development plans from them in the days ahead,” said Reena Rana, chief of Waling Multiple Campus.
Devi Thapamagar of CPN - UML has been elected deputy mayor of Galyang Municipality. Bimla Shrestha, Seema Karmacharya and Kalpana Tiwari of Nepali Congress have been elected Deputy Mayor of Chapakot, Bhirkot and Waling municipalities, respectively.
“The election of these women to leadership positions gives a strong message. This practice will help in minimizing the existing gender gap in leadership position and pave way to creating a just society,” Rana added.
She stressed on the importance women at the leadership level and said if woman occupy fifty percent of leadership roles, we can have a just society that we aspire for. “Now these women will make contributions for the economic, social and political development of our villages and towns. They should not be judged using gender stereotypes. They are our leaders who are capable of delivering the pledges that they made to us,” she stated.
Know these leaders
People who know Seema Chhetri, mayor of Putalibazar, say that she has affiliated to CPN - UML’s student’s wing in her school days. She wanted to study law after passing SLC examination. However, due to family she had to give up that aspiration and instead became a teacher. Apart from teaching the Lokpriya Primary School of Putalibazar - 3, she actively involved with the Teachers’ association.
In the years ahead, her hard work and dedication to the school brought more responsibilities. She served as principal of the school and gained reputation in the community for improving the school’s performance. All the while she completed her post graduation majoring in Nepali. However in 2014 she left teaching and devoted herself fully to politics.
“We need to work out in many fronts to ensure holistic development of our town, as desired by its residents. I will be working on those front and ensure that the community’s aspiration are fulfilled,” Seema said. “Environmental sustainability, good governance, and infrastructure development are our priority areas,” she added. “We will use local resources. If we can engage youths in productive work, they won’t have to leave their home. They can develop their own place and keep it vibrant and prosperous,” she said.
Devi Thapamagar, deputy mayor of Galyang Municipality, stressed that women in rural areas should be provided with better living conditions. “I am very close to women who have to walk for hours to fetch little water. They are deprived of proper nutrition, health facilities and so on. I know the real problems that the residents of this municipality are facing,” she said. “I am confident we will be able to bring positive changes in their life. One of the ways would be providing vocational trainings to women and help them in possessing additional income generating sources. This will help in raising their and their family’s economic status and live a better life.”
Thapamagar stated that a woman focused development is her priority since that will pave way for holistic development of the municipality. Along with that, she said that she will be working on planning youth focused programs that will help in employing youths at home and stop the flow of youth’s migration to foreign countries for employment. “Our youths should be provided with employment opportunities here at home so that they can contribute even better to the community’s development. Foreign employment has seriously affected our society’s development potential,” she said. Still unmarried, Thapamagar is a skilled tailor as well.
Similarly, Binita Shrestha and Seema Karmacharya, other two deputy mayors in Syanja stated that they want to see their localities take lead in terms of development. Shrestha stressed on launching awareness campaigns to discourage people from following superstitious beliefs and to encourage their active participation in development. “There are lots of things we must change in our society.
Well being of people should be a priority as only individuals with healthy thoughts can develop a healthy society. We should discourage people from discriminating people on the basis of caste and gender and encourage them for participatory approaches in development,” she elaborated. “Along with other development programs, I will be focusing on raising awareness among people for creating a just society,” she added.
Karmacharya stressed on ensuring drinking water, health, education facilities in her municipality. “People supported my candidacy so that I can deliver at least these basic facilities to them. They want to live comfortable life and ensuring it happens is my job.”