Glimpses of International Women’s Day 2013 Celebration at ICIMOD

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'Strengthening Past Achievements, Building Gender Transformative Futures for Sustainable Natural Resource Management'

International Women’s Day Celebration at ICIMOD Headquarters
8 March 2013


Every year, ICIMOD celebrates International Women’s Day to honour and highlight the role of women in sustainable mountain development in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. The occasion is normally a day of high energy and inspiration. The global theme for this year was ‘The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum’. To mark the occasion, ICIMOD organized an interactive panel on the sub-theme ‘Strengthening Past Achievements, Building Gender Transformative Futures for Sustainable Natural Resource Management’. Gender experts from Bhutan, India, Nepal, and the United States of America participated in the panel. 

Two grassroots female leaders from ASHTA- Nepal (Association for Social Transformation and Humanterian Assistance) and HIMAWANTI-Nepal (Himalayan Grassroots Women’s Natural Resource Management Association) also participated in the celebration on the panel ‘Women’s Voices from the HKH – Women Gaining New Heights’. These women told of the challenges that they face during the change process; they pointed out that, despite some progress, women in the region are still suffering from domestic violence and discrimination in all areas of social and professional life including receiving unequal pay.

In his keynote speech, the Director General of ICIMOD, Dr David Molden said that ICIMOD’s new Medium Term Action Plan emphasizes the importance of improving the wellbeing of women, men, and children in the Hindu Kush Himalayas. He stressed that gender transformative change is only possible if the attitude and behaviour of men changes and if we work together. 

Dr Ritu Verma, leader of ICIMOD’s Gender Strategic Institutional Area, highlighted what the global celebration means to ICIMOD, namely, improving the quality of life and wellbeing of rural women, as well as ensuring their basic right to development. “I envision a future in which the region and the Centre has reached gender equality in access to resources, governance, and professional disciplines and in which gender-based violence is a thing of the past”, she said. 

Speaking at the same programme, the Director of the Tarayana Foundation in Bhutan, Ms Chime Wangdi, said, “Change within oneself, within an organization, or within society is important before we try to bring about any transformative change in others”. Similarly, Dr Aditi Kapur from Development Futures in India shared her view that young boys should be educated about discrimination towards women so that they understand why women lag behind in most areas.

Dr Lynn Bennett, anthropologist and Senior Social Scientist at ICIMOD, said, “There are significant gender-positive changes taking place in communities, as compared to 10 to 15 years ago, including in women’s literacy, communication, and mobility. She encouraged ICIMOD to continue working for gender positive change considering the wider socio-cultural dimensions such as caste and ethnicity.

Ms Dibya Gurung, from WOCAN (Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management), Nepal said that women need training on leadership management to enable them to come forward and play a decision-making role at different levels. She also said that policy makers and planners have to be sensitized to create awareness and sensitivity to gender equality. 

Dr David Molden then presented the Gender Champions Awards for advancing gender-positive change within the centre and region. The team award went to the ‘High Value Products and Value Chain Team’ and individual awards to Bandana Shakya and Nabin Baral

ICIMOD’s celebrations also included a women’s power lunch, a cake-cutting ceremony, and the reading of time capsule messages from the past and entering of new messages for the future. The Director General’s message, newspaper articles, and media coverage of the event are available on our website: http://www.icimod.org/iwd2013

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International Women's Day 2013

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Happy International Women’s Day! Every Effort, Every Feeling, Every Moment of Happiness is Incomplete without YOU, Only You can Complete this World and our Mission.
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