US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine M Russell emphasised the US government’s commitment to preventing gender-based violence and advancing gender equality during her four-day trip to Nepal.
Ambassador Russell during her visit on February 7-11 heard from several civil society groups about the challenges girls and women face, including trafficking in persons, dowries, child marriage, schools without toilet facilities and others. She also visited a USAID-supported health programme for new mothers and their babies in Dhulikhel and traveled to Janakpur to meet with female community leaders and students.
“This form of violence often seriously jeopardises both the mental and physical health of women and girls,” ambassador Russell said, while meeting with organisations that are working to stop gender-based violence.
Addressing gender-based violence is not just a moral issue but also a security, public health, and economic one. “The results of the violence have significant direct and indirect economic costs for women, their families, their communities, and the nation,” she added.
Women’s entrepreneurship groups shared their successes in the pashmina, handicraft, tourism and agricultural sectors with Ambassador Russell.
Several female entrepreneurs who have recently attended US-funded exchange programmes and workshops shared their plans to grow their businesses. Russell underscored how important women’s economic participation is to overall economic growth.Female members of the new Constituent Assembly (CA), Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare officials and the Janakpur chief district officer briefed Russell about the challenges facing women, government efforts to improve female political participation, and access to education.
Russell also spoke with several civil society groups and the government about their anti-trafficking efforts.