– Andrea de Miguel Adriá
The fact that there are reserved seats for women in all public transport in Nepal, is a gender stereotype that situate women once again in a subordination situation with respect to men since it qualifies them as the weaker sex of the society.
This political measure carried out by the Government for “trying” to correct and reduce the discrimination and gender inequality in the country, is a clear example that makes visible the failure of gender mainstreaming in public policies, the absence of professionals trained in gender and a lack of real measures that are being implemented to correct and to slow down such discrimination. Away from this, these type of measures, increases the inequality and intensifies the gender stereotypes between women and men in the country.
The picture which shows these seats for women not only identify women within the female sex, with her long hair and her high heels, but intensifies the stereotype of woman, what is expected from her, to behave like a lady, sit properly, closing and crossing-legged.
On every buses and micro buses, there is a proportion of seats reserved for women and older people, but this proportion is always greater for women than for the older seats, being 4 seats reserved for women and two for older in large bus or two and one respectively, in small transports. So, women in Nepal are perceived as the weaker sex in Nepalese society, needing a higher proportion of reserved seats for them on every public transport.
This contradicts strongly with in society and inside the family is expected from Nepali women who are primarily responsible for the housework, care of the family, along with work outside the home; so, the workload is on them forgetting that they are the weaker group of the society, becoming the major pillar of this.
Thus, this measure which tries to make us believe an increase in respect towards women don’t get it at all, because we will really be respected when real measures which are capable of combating discrimination and inequality between men and women will be implemented, measures against gender-based violence; when an education which is able to correct the discrimination against women and end gender stereotypes will be implemented; when female literacy rates are equal to the male ones or when the housework and the family care, will be shared, leaving the thought that these tasks correspond to women for the simple fact of being it.
These along with many other changes have to occur in society so that we will really feel such a respect and feel that we are treated as a one more human being, respecting our differences and similarities and adapting these to the well-being of we all in society.
But we women should not forget that the change doesn´t have to be done only for men, we are also responsible to make it happens, to make this society fair and promote respect between we all. We are the ones who together with men has to do “revolution” inside these public transports and share these special seats with everyone, without taking care about their gender, and for sure leaving them to those who really need to have a seat, like ill people or oldest ones, but not for us women, we are same powerful than men, we are not weaker than them and we both can stand to reach wherever we want. So let´s start this change from each of us, showing to the society what respect really is.