Gender bias in Nepali education consultancies

Published On: February 27, 2017 08:17 PM NPT By: Sonee Shrestha

Nepalese Association of Australian Education Representative (NAAER) had recently organized a dinner reception on the occasion of Australian Day in the presence of Australian Ambassador to Nepal Glenn White.

Surprisingly, I was the only woman from among all the consultancies representing the function. I had a mixed feeling which led me to pen this article. I was both shocked and proud. Proud, in a sense that I was the only woman representing educational consultancies involved in this business. It was a proud moment of my life because I was the lone participant at the event. Shocked, in a sense that I was the only woman attending the function. If we visit any of the institutions, we meet women from the very reception, but, to my surprise, I found almost no women partaking in that event.

What is wrong taking part in such event as a woman? The question haunted me time and again.I started thinking that people still have misconception about consultancies.A large section of society still disapproves of women taking part in such social functions. Educational consultancies, so far as I know, are the companies that provide expert advice to the aspiring students on higher studies, selection of courses and universities.

These people are educated, do a healthy interaction, they understand how things go on, no one can mislead them. I could not make it out why they still treat consultancies as manpower agencies that fleece ignorant people ending up bonded workers in the Gulf countries.

In Kathmandu, most of the so called big consultancies are run by a family. Surprisingly, I didn't witness even a single woman from those institutions taking part in such function. Such institutions should lead the change, I guess.

People have a negative feeling that consultancies are working only for commission. All the organizations have definitely been established with a profit motive. No one is in the market for philanthropic works. However, a few of them are also aware of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Most of the people are not aware of what actually happens in this field. The fact is that we always advocate for scholarship or some kind of discount in the universities the students are applying for while some countries appoint their local agents and want students to come through them.

Even though our role is instrumental in building career of students, we, sometimes, hear misleading news about cheating students financially by consultancies.  We also have to realize the fact that more students with weak academic and financial background are more likely to fall prey to such swindlers.

The technology has made our life so easier with access to information. The students should make a preliminary study before facing counselor rather than relying on them fully.Besides that, organizations such as ECAN, IERIN, NAAER and FECON should strictly work toward solving the issues of the students than involving in power game.They should work out on making the consultancies work systematically. They should, always, render efforts to maintain their image and encourage women into this business.

What I have felt so far is when women counsel students, they give a feeling of responsible, secure and proper information. Women are more mature and responsible toward their job and they try not to provide misleading information. They first think about welfare of the students, so representation of woman in this field should be encouraged.

I still remember my initial days when my husband and daughter used to discourage me. They let me feel that what I was doing was a low profile job. I had clearly told them that I was proud of my job as I have to deal with educated people. I play a crucial role in the career development of the students. Now, they have changed the notion completely. I get a full support. It is a pleasure that I started change from my family.

Meanwhile, we frequently read or hear teachers assaulting students. It does not mean all fathers and teachers are devils. Likewise, all the consultancies will not work for their benefits; they always work for a win-win situation. At the same time, the organizations such as-- IERIN, NAAER, ECAN and FECON-- have emerged to settle such disputes.

Recently, a good friend of mine also insulted me using a cheap word because I took part in a dinner reception organized by a Sydney-based college. It was, in fact, an appreciation of our support to them. I had to lecture him as well. Involvement of women at work means a support to a family financially and contribution to a nation because we also pay tax as men do.

I feel that women are more capable of handling work pressure and making right decision. They know better on how to take care of clients. However, it is not recognized simply because of their gender. They deserve more facility but, in fact, they get less on the ground of gender. I frequently witness if a woman and a man does the same type of job, men get more appreciation than women. Everybody should be treated equally regardless of their gender or caste or religion.

I have been involved in the educational field since more than a decade. At times, as an instructor, lecturer and counselor, I have experienced unequal treatment from men. In the education field, if women are treated like this, can they imagine about other field?

I request all these organizations to work on it. Motivate more women to involve in this field.


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