December 30, 2018 09:36 AM NPT
By: DB BUDHA
JUMLA, Dec 30: Bijkali Rokaya of Sija is among the leading women of the village. She says that women have been running the whole village since all men have gone to foreign lands in search of employment. "As all male members are abroad or out of the district for jobs, we women have been managing the household and social affairs," said Rokaya.
From plowing fields to cooking meals, women have been doing everything. Breaking the traditional gender stereotype, they are involved in development works too. Usually, development projects are not conducted during monsoon. However, as soon as the monsoon ends, women here actively take part in development activities.
"Sending our men abroad is not a choice but an obligation," said Rokaya, adding, "So, in their absence we have shouldered their social responsibilities along with our household chores." According to her, by taking new roles, women have been proving that they are not inferior to men in anything.
There are altogether 38 households in Chema village of Hima Rural Municipality. Almost all male members from these families are in Tarai and India working for sustaining their families. Therefore, women are taking their roles in the socio-political sector.
The crops and vegetables the women produce is enough for six months while the money earned by the males is enough for the next six months. Instead of waiting for the men to bring home money, women here have started doing works to earn themselves.
After celebrating Dashain and Tihar, most males of Sija go to various parts of Tarai for to sell various hill products. There are no employment opportunities in the villages and not enough land for agriculture. As a result, at least one member of the family is forced to go to India or any other country, seeking job, according to local Mun Prasad Upadhyaya.
It has been noted that, most youths of Sija work in Utaranchal and Himanchal states of India. Upadhyay laments that people like him are compelled to go to foreign land, as there are no job opportunities in the villages.
This is the reason why only the elderly, children and women are left in the village. In the past, if any family member got ill, men used to carry them to the hospital or health centers. Now, women carry the ill members to hospitals on their own. One and a half years since the formation of the local units, nothing has been done for eliminating unemployment in the rural parts. This has greatly disappointed the locals.