In Nepal, despite political empowerment, women find limited opportunities to shape water policy

Researchers from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) have been studying the link between gender and political restructuring, and how this influences water supply in two districts of Nepal. It was identified that despite new political structures, old mindsets prevail, but a more empowered younger generation could affect change. In Nepal, where only about 25% of water supply systems are fully functional, opportunities to provide a more equitable water supply are crucial.

Nepal established a federal government in 2015, bringing an end to an era of centralized rule. The new governance structure opens opportunities to eliminate disparities caused by class, caste and gender. Also, a new constitution calls for increased representation of women in politics, with mandatory quotas for the number of seats women must fill in government positions.

At the local level, these quotas extend to water user committees (WUCs), where 33% of all members must be women.