© Helvetas
Nepal

Recognizing, Redistributing and Reducing the Burden of Unpaid Care Work

© Helvetas

Support for gender equality and social inclusion is a cross-cutting theme in all Helvetas activities in Nepal. In addition, we undertake a variety of actions that specifically address problems faced by women and Dalits.

  • Project Name
    Gender Equality and Social Inclusion
  • Funding
    This project is funded by donations.
  • Thematic focus
    Gender and Social Equity

Despite considerable social change in recent years, Nepalese society remains hierarchical, with women and members of occupational castes - Dalits - experiencing systematic discrimination. Religious and socio-cultural beliefs, values and norms, mean that women and Dalits generally have very limited access to or control over political, economic and public life. 

Support for gender equality and social inclusion is a cross-cutting theme in all Helvetas activities in Nepal. In addition, we undertake a variety of actions that specifically address problems faced by women and Dalits. These include the following.

Recognizing, redistributing and reducing the burden of unpaid care work

Unpaid care work – fetching water, gathering fuelwood, and fodder for livestock, preparing and cooking food, cleaning, washing clothes and caring for children, the elderly and the sick - are all considered the primary responsibility of women. In many rural areas, this represents a huge burden. Added to agricultural activities, there is little or no time for anything else, such as attending public meetings or conducting an activity to earn money. Working with small community groups, Helvetas uses REFLECT circle discussions along with time diaries to raise women’s own awareness, and empower them to identify actions to improve their situation. These they then negotiate within their own community and with government and private institutions. Identified solutions have included a children’s creche funded by a local municipality, labor-saving agricultural tools, and small business initiatives.

© Helvetas
Participants of public hearing event © Helvetas
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© Helvetas
Household chores, a prime responsibility of women © Helvetas
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Women’s entrepreneurial skills

We promote Women’s Economic Empowerment alongside addressing unpaid care work, so that economic activities do not simply give women more work. We use tools such as area potential surveys and market mapping to identify promising business opportunities for women; offer training in entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy; and foster linkages to credit (which is often particularly difficult for women to obtain, as they lack collateral). We generally work through women’s groups, as women tend to feel more comfortable working together.

© Helvetas
«I keep my daughter in the “Community Child Care Center” and go for harvesting paddy without any worry. I am happy that my child is getting good care, and living under safe environment»

Tulasi BK, 24 years, mother of a 2 years old child

Menstrual hygiene management

Menstruation is traditionally considered polluting and shameful. Adolescent girls often feel too embarrassed to attend school when menstruating, and in the West of the country, the system of forcing women to stay outside the home when menstruating, chhaupadi, is still widespread. They are also barred from using taps or toilets. Helvetas works with schools and women’s groups in raising awareness of the importance of menstrual hygiene, and promoting the use of reusable sanitary pads.

How Helvetas Supports People in Nepal

Helvetas launched its first projects in 1956 in Nepal. Our operations have since expanded to include everything from vocational training to building bridges and reducing disaster-related risks.

Gender and Social Equity

Helvetas makes sure that our work actively and meaningfully includes and supports the most disadvantaged groups.
Contact us

Gender Equality and Social Inclusion
Dhobighat
Lalitpur
GPO Box 688 Kathmandu
Nepal

Phone: +977 1 5524 926