Saturday Jun 25, 2022
Saturday Jun 25, 2022

Misogyny: Common foe for Nepal’s working class

Regardless of how advanced or primitive a society is, there is always role division of labor at least according to sex.

2022 Jun 23, 8:15, Kathmandu
Representative Image

Male dominance continues to enforce harmful stereotypes and create unfavorable environments for women making it difficult for them to excel. Such discrimination leads to women being less and less able to succeed in the labor market.

The Right to Employment Act, 2075 (2018) guarantees the right of every citizen to work and employment irrespective of their identity or sex; however, many women complain that even though they qualify for much higher positions, only men are elected for such positions. However, discrimination in workplace is not a new concern, it has been the same for decades, the only thing that has changed is the ways. Societal expectations and beliefs about women’s leadership abilities is one of the major reason of discrimination in workplace for women in Nepal.

“When I first started working, misogyny was out in the open. It was a known fact but now it is an unconscious trait due to deep rooted Patriarchal values, even though it is not intentional.”, claimed Shanti Shrish, medical advisor to MdM France, an International INGO. She explained that in her 20 years of working career, and after changing half a dozen jobs, she has faced her fair share of discriminations and knows exactly how demotivating it can be.

“Women in positions higher than men are looked down upon and often ignored, since women are not traditionally the one to give orders. However, such prejudices can jeopardize the performance of women,” she further added.

Workplace discrimination erodes confidence in women's abilities. Photo- SHRM
Workplace discrimination erodes confidence in women's abilities. Photo- SHRM

With the throat cut competition reeling the labor market, women want their abilities to be judged equally. Pervasive stereotypes, such as that of the “caring mother” or “office housekeeper” make it difficult for women to compete equally in the job market. But it is due to this very institution of capitalism that patriarchal values emerged first. Recent studies also suggest that a sexual division of labor can also lead to potential sexual stratification, this is one of the main reason that women don't make enough money even today.

Simran Shrestha, working in the IT sector said , “When I was on Probation in the initial days of my career, I had to compete with a man who was way less qualified than me in skills and academics. However, he was the one who was chosen at last just because he was a man.” Simran further added that, “ As I was a good candidate, I was also offered a job there but in a position lower than the one we were competing for. The only consolation I got from my CEO was that since he was a man he can travel more often and is more outspoken. I was extremely disheartened.”

While Shrestha worked as a HR in the same company, she had to share her scotty with the same male colleague who got hired at a position much higher than hers, as he had to go meet clients and make deals. “ It was my scotty, but I was asked to lend it to a less qualified person while I myself could do the same job. He didn't even own a driving license.” She laments not fighting for her rights at that time and suggests women to never put up with such behavior.

Stereotypes against women lead them to be left behind from the mainstream development and job market. Photo- Eurozine
Stereotypes against women lead them to be left behind from the mainstream development and job market. Photo- Eurozine

Stereotypically, women are said to be bad drivers and decision makers while most people think that computer and IT is not a field for women. “Decision making was done mostly by my male colleagues even though we had a female leading the team,” said Prakriti Aryal, a social worker. She further added that it was mostly males who were asked to do computer related works even though she had good excel and computational skills.

Women use various mechanisms to cope with working in male-dominated work environments where they constantly face discriminations and prejudices. Such experiences lead women to distance themselves from their colleagues, or even give up on working fully. It can create various mental problems, anxiety and self depreciation while many women lose confidence and self worth.

This concludes with women turning to accepting masculine cultural norms and starting acting like “one of the boys,” which exacerbates the problem by contributing to the normalization of this culture.


Misogyny: Common foe for Nepal’s working class misogyny role division of labor discrimination against women stereotypes The Right to Employment Act women’s leadership abilities deep rooted Patriarchal values
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