What we did on International Women’s Day

Written by Rajina and Dipeeka, Women LEAD Interns

Women’s Day was never a day of much importance to me before. Not until 2012, now that I’m a part of Women LEAD and actually doing things that would matter.

We went out on a rally first which was organized by the Women’s Commission. The response and participation was overwhelming. What really amazed me was this large group of Women Police from the Nepal police as well as a huge group of young and mature women alike, chanting together for the unity of women.

With the rally ending at Basantapur, more formal programs started, including speeches and a theatrical performance. However, we moved on to interviewing people, asking opinions from people around us about the day.

An old man waiting for customers at the side of the road said with a smile on his face said that his mother had been a constant source of inspiration in his life. With the Women’s Day aura in the air, there were actually a lot of enthusiastic people talking about the issues we always are concerned of and sharing what they have been doing from their side.

We had also planned to interview various kinds of people of all age groups for Today’s Youth Asia’s Inspiring Women television show broadcasted on national television. We wanted to get different viewpoints from men and women, boys and girls on issues affecting women and steps to advance women’s rights/ gender equality. Sharmila and I (Dipeeka) were involved in the project. We interviewed people who had come into the rally before it started at Bhrikutimandap and after it ended in Basantapur. While the other girls were in the rally, we interviewed vendors so that we could get a wide range of perspective on the issues. The TV show has yet to be broadcasted!

We then watched a documentary called Miss Representation which shows how women are misrepresented in mass media. It was extremely insightful as it highlighted the way women are perceived by the world and expected to act like.

Tara, Jess and Chelsea read out a chapter from the book Half The Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. We all listened to a story about a young Pakistani girl, Mukhtar, who was raped, but dedicated the rest of her life helping girls who faced the same situation as hers and opening a school for educating girls. Her initiatives initially gained a lot of support, but later even the government of her country started threatening her. Till this day, she continues her endeavors with determination. We were inspired by her courage and motivation to make a difference in her society even after a hurtful past.

In our group activity of the day, we painted a mosaic picture representing a Nepali woman that depicts the stage when she needs to make crucial choices in her life. We painted each of its nine pieces in groups of 1-3. The final picture was really beautiful.

The end of it all was a flash mob at Jawalakhel. All 16 of us girls headed out to the junction at Jawalakhel. Our theme was “Ending the Silence”. We first grabbed the attention of the passers-by by sealing our mouths with tape and clapping. Then one by one, we ripped off the tape and started chanting “My future, my voice”. Although a little skeptical initially about the idea of a flash mob (I’d never heard of before), it turned out to be the best part of the day for me. I was shouting out what mattered to me and a lot of people stopped by and looked at us.

At the end, I couldn’t stop but say: What an AMAZING day!

We are putting together a video of interviews from the Women’s day. Look out for the final cut soon!


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