Although progress has been made in the status of women, in general females in rural areas of Nepal are still second class citizens. In fact, there are barriers to citizenship itself, in the case of refugess a and fatherless children. Rape, incest and dowry murders are issues as well, and all forms of violence against women. Domestic and spousal abuse are commonplace.
Although on the face of it, the status of women in modern Nepalese society has undergone a massive transformation and women’s rights have been secured by the constitution, outside of the few large cities, enforcement has been very thin. Beliefs in patrilineal descent keep rural people from implementing many of the new gender laws, and they don’t accept equal rights for women. The rugged, mountainous topography of much of Nepal adds to the problem. In remote villages, gender roles have changed little in 100 years. Girls and women are deprived of education in favor of boys, females are victims of caste-based discrimination, and healthcare is limited. Nepalese women and girls are frequently subjected to rape and domestic abuse, and those from poor families are are severely ar risk for human trafficking to India and to the Gulf States.
It is in this setting that Maiti Nepal does its important work of educating, protecting, warning, and caring for vulnerable girls and women.