This week on Everywoman we meet Nepali women, see the challenges they face, and how things will change now that the Maoists control the country.

In Nepal the recent election has resulted in the former rebels, the Maoists, taking control. Thirty-three per cent of the new assembly are women, a big increase from the four per cent who held seats before the election.

Everywoman asks if this will lead to a change in attitude towards women, regarded as low status among the majority Hindu population.

Childless Women

Devaki's husband left her because she could
not have children

Married women who do not want or cannot have children often face harsh treatment.

Until recently Nepali law allowed men to divorce their wives after 10 years of marriage if no children had been produced. 

Childless women still face severe discrimination.

Subina Shresta went to Nepal to meet Devaki, a woman with first hand experience of how painful the situation can be.

Gurkha widows

Retired Nepalese soldiers known as Gurkhas who fought with the British army are also victims of unfair treatment. The British government recently improved pensions for Gurkhas who retired after 1997.

But for the rest, there is little or no money. And in Nepal, one of the world's poorest countries with no state healthcare or social benefits, that means thousands of Gurkha widows are destitute, as Rosie Garthwaite reports.


Until recently children could only gain
citizenship through their fathers

One of the issues Nepali women are grappling with is citizenship. Until recently children could not gain citizenship through their mothers, it was only through their fathers that they got their nationality.

The law was recently amended, but for the most part old attitudes persist.

For many children with foreign fathers, it means no rights and no legal recognition. 

Subina Shresta met one woman trying to get citizenship for herself and her son.

The Living Goddesses

The Living Goddesses or Kumari of Nepal are worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists. They wear silks and jewels and their feet never touch the ground outside their homes.

But their lives are far from heavenly.

Lonely and isolated, the Kumari rarely see other people. Two years ago the supreme court ordered an enquiry into whether these little girls were being exploited.

So far nothing has changed. Subina Shresta went to Kathmandu to meet the child goddesses.

Watch part one of this episode of Everywoman

Watch part two of this episode of Everywoman

This episode of Everywoman aired on Friday, May 23, 2008

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