As Margaret Thatcher once rightly said, “Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country”. Rural Women Development Center (RWDC) has been working with people of the most marginalized and disadvantaged communities especially women for their sociology-economic and cultural empowerment. Right to Education and Right to Health is the basic right of every individual irrespective of sex, caste, class or ethnicity.
It makes me extremely proud of being able to witness the positive changes that the organization has been able to achieve so far. Within 10 years of its establishment, RWDC launched a Micro Finance Program with a mission of providing a collateral-free loan to the woman who has the skills, drive, and zeal to start-up a business but lacks the capital to do so. We believe that for a woman to be empowered, it is equally important for her to be financially independent. I still remember an incident shared by a woman where she did not even get a loan of NPR 1 to buy a matchbox from the shop nor neighbors. But all that changed for her after the microfinance program which helped not only in achieving financial benefits but also in the restoration of one’s pride and dignity. Furthermore, it has boosted their confidence to venture into different areas and take the risk. For instance, several of our women members have been elected as members of various local bodies.
But this has not been an easy ride. Working in a society, where we are guided by strong patriarchal norms and culture can be a challenge in itself. These socially constructed identities define the expectation of both man and woman. However, I firmly believe that women in leadership can further help in the development process through good governance. That been said, there is a need to completely rethink the whole socialization process by teaching equal values to both men and women since they are born. Therefore, in order to achieve gender equality, the “gender stereotype” needs to be challenges and women should also be given equal opportunity to fly high.
As a Director of RWDC, I commit to continuously work for the development and rights of the marginalized indigenous communities especially in uplifting and empowering women and children. The driving force behind our organization is its volunteers, staff members, sponsors, donors and well-wishers who have provided us with tremendous love and support.