Help Young Women Break the Glass Ceiling in Nepal!

by Women LEAD
Help Young Women Break the Glass Ceiling in Nepal!
Help Young Women Break the Glass Ceiling in Nepal!
Help Young Women Break the Glass Ceiling in Nepal!
Help Young Women Break the Glass Ceiling in Nepal!
Help Young Women Break the Glass Ceiling in Nepal!
Help Young Women Break the Glass Ceiling in Nepal!
Help Young Women Break the Glass Ceiling in Nepal!
Help Young Women Break the Glass Ceiling in Nepal!
Speed Mentoring session, WOW Nepal 2022, Lumbini.
Speed Mentoring session, WOW Nepal 2022, Lumbini.

Women LEAD Nepal in collaboration with the British Council Nepal curated a series of Speed Mentoring Sessions for the Women of the World (WOW) Nepal festival in April 2022 in Lumbini. There were 30 mentors from diverse backgrounds (academic/professional/caste/culture) who mentored 41 mentees (aged 18-26) from Lumbini. We, at Women LEAD, emphasize mentoring to create a supportive environment for young women to grow their confidence and establish the networks they need to achieve long-term success. Out of the 30 mentors, 9 were our program alumni.

Hear from them about their experiences: 

"Mentoring at WOW Lumbini was a rewarding experience as I have always considered mentorship a two-way learning process. I saw the critical role that mentorship programs serve in empowering and supporting women. I had the opportunity to mentor girls from a different socio-demographic background than mine. As a result, it was an eye-opening experience that allowed me to have a better understanding of the challenges and struggles that girls and women face in this region of Nepal." - Simrika

"My major takeaway is that change is coming. I met beautiful souls who want to do something for the society and for themselves. There are many unheard stories and so these young women want to be heard. Their words have inspired me to be a better human being. I have formed sisterhood across different geography." - Elina

"This was my first time doing a speed mentoring - talking to many young women, listening to their stories, sharing my own experiences with them in hope that it might be of some help, and trying to navigate the way out of a problem (that they were facing) together. One of my major takeaways is that no matter where (geographically, economically, socially) we 'women' are, we are fighting against the patriarchal system, gender norms, expectations, and roles that are put on us and that we are striving hard to realize our own dreams despite our own hardships. This realization has been empowering for me!" - Aksha

"From being a mentee at OWN IT 2020 to being a mentor in WOW Lumbini 2022's Speedmentoring, the journey has been amazing. This experience as a mentor helped me understand the daily livelihood of young girls, and their struggle toward being empowered, in various stages of their lives. Similarly, hearing success stories of young women smashing traditional norms and values changed my narratives about the power these women carry within themselves. With the experiences gained from this speed mentoring, I will always try to assist young women in their leadership journeys." - Kajal

Simrika, 2021 YWPLI Fellow
Simrika, 2021 YWPLI Fellow
Elina, 2014 LEADer
Elina, 2014 LEADer
Aksha, 2016 LEADer
Aksha, 2016 LEADer
Kajal, 2021 YWPLI Fellow
Kajal, 2021 YWPLI Fellow

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Sarun, 2020 YWPLI Fellow, 2021 Development Intern
Sarun, 2020 YWPLI Fellow, 2021 Development Intern

Women LEAD has been a life-changing journey for me since the day I started my Young Women Political Leadership Institute (YWPLI) with a motive to bring transactional changes in the understanding level of the political dimension. Now as 2020 YWPLI alumni and a development intern at Women LEAD, every day is like a new day of learning. During YWPLI, I got a chance to witness the power of mentoring. I had an incredible mentor who guided me to mould my career path and empowered me to be a visionary persona. 

Women LEAD has a large community of alumni where there are ample opportunities that one can seek and access. The engagement with the organization doesn’t end after the completion of the courses, rather it will be the opening of new chapters on how one can get connected with the organization or take advantage of networking from the vast community. 

Considering the privilege of being mentored, I want to retrieve back to others to create a change. Therefore, as an alumnus, I got an opportunity to enrol in the program “Leading by Mentoring'' which was conducted by Women LEAD in collaboration with Nepal Leadership Academy. It was a program targeted at the alumni of the YWPLI and LEAD course with the main objective of equipping alumni by coaching them to be future mentors. 

One of the participants of the program & Women LEAD program trainee Kajal said, “Talking and working as a leader has always been intriguing for me. These two days long training “Leading by Mentoring”  has been a whole new experience as it led me to acknowledge that leadership is not only about me or you, but It’s about the things that need to be done. Working in pairs in breakout rooms taught me to build transformational relationships with one another and helped me to be a better version of me to coach my mentor in the forthcoming future”. 

Before attending the program, I used to label leadership with position & authority but now I have a clear understanding of leadership as a continuous process. The key learning from the two days session was distinguishing between the technical and adaptive challenges of the leadership. In addition to that, we learned about the framework to build an intentional relationship with mentees.

2020 YWPLI Fellow and participant of the program Bima shares her experience, “As an aspiring mentor, a program like "Leading by Mentoring '' can help me to make a transformational relationship with my mentee. It helped me to make effective communication with intellectual stimulation. Through this program, I'll be able to build trust,  nurture and encourage my mentee and ultimately bring the best out in both of us and our growth. Being a mentor can be energizing, re-ignite my engagement in different aspects and create a stronger sense of value upon things through the relation with my mentee. All these experiences I've collected as a mentor, I can pass down to my mentee as well, as she can become a mentor one day with a consistent supply of support and encouragement.”

Of all the sessions that I attended, I found the breakout session to be more impactful because participants were divided into small groups of people who could share their idea on the coaching and discuss the various case scenarios on mentorship. The discussion was very productive and I learned about the importance of mentoring in different life cycles of an individual’s life.

The program was designed in such an effective way that the facilitator made us re-evaluate our values and re-invent them if necessary. I believe the alumni engagement in programs like “Leading by Mentoring” will prepare us to be a changemaker and have a positive impact on the individual’s life.  

Kajal, 2020 YWPLI Fellow
Kajal, 2020 YWPLI Fellow
Bima, 2020 YWPLI Fellow
Bima, 2020 YWPLI Fellow

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Praju, 2013 LEADer
Praju, 2013 LEADer

I started my journey at Women LEAD in 2013 as a LEADer, participant of the 2013 LEAD Course, with a very faint idea of my stance as a young female leader. With my engagement in the organization, I became more aware of my socio-cultural environment and how actions are needed to promote growth and awareness not just within an individual but within the society itself at large. Women LEAD helped me to grow as an empowered young woman who was able to speak not just for herself but also the others. Over the years, I have had several roles in the organization; as an intern in 2014 and 2018, as a board member in 2015, and mentor since 2015

One of my proudest achievements was coordinating the Sujata Baskota Changemaker’s Project on “Consent”. It was an opportunity, not just for the students to learn about consent, but for me to explore my bounds as a facilitator and a trainer. Women LEAD’s Sujata Baskota Changemaker Award program provides grants to its alumni to implement their own community projects in Nepal.

Another rewarding engagement in Women LEAD has been the mentorship program, with which I have had the honor to mentor 5 young girls over the years; mentees are LEAD course participants. The atmosphere at Women LEAD and its members has always been the most encouraging. 

With my educational background in law, I wanted to pursue my interest to facilitate better policy practices especially in consideration of women and underrepresented communities. So, I found it reasonable to approach the issue not just as a young voice in activism but as a drafter of law. Currently, I have been appointed as a Legal Officer at the Ministry of Social Development, Bagmati Province. I am excited and looking forward to this new journey of working for the Government of Nepal. 

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Dilasha, LEADer 2018
Dilasha, LEADer 2018

It was a privilege to have been given the opportunity from Women LEAD to attend the virtual 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (16th-26th March). The 65th CSW's theme was “Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life and the empowerment of women and girls”. 

The CSW65 session provided an opportunity for all the attendees to come up with strong action-oriented policy recommendations and ensured that we build back better towards a future that is more equal, resilient, and sustainable. Most of the events that I attended covered discussions around the critical role of civil society and women’s rights organizations on the front line. Government representatives and participants also discussed and celebrated the leadership from women’s rights organizations.

Of all the sessions I attended, I’d like to share about two of them. One of the sessions I attended was “Championing Women Leadership in Tech” which focused specifically on tech because women are increasingly rising through the ranks in public and political life and yet in the technology sector women leaders are not as visible and progress is much slower. The discussion was inspiring, and I learned that increasing women’s participation in the tech industry can bridge the gender gap and unleash female leadership across the board. 

Another event panel “Women Delivering Justice: Achieving Gender Parity In The Justice Sector” focused on the importance of investing in the equal and full representation of women in justice delivery. I learned that women belong in all places where decisions are being made, it shouldn’t be that women are the exception and that any society where women are excluded from public life and decision making cannot call itself truly democratic.

In conclusion, my learnings from the CSW65 sessions that I attended focused on, given the compelling case for gender equality in the justice, civil, and public sector itself, dismantling these barriers must be our collective priority and the COVID crisis has made this clearer than ever as it has impacted women disproportionately – from loss of jobs to rise in violence against women and unpaid care work.

As I move ahead in my professional career as well as my personal path, my realizations and highlights from the CSW65 session are that in order to achieve gender equality, we need to have an intersectional approach to solving the barriers holding us back. Gender equality is for everyone and we need to work with young people who have a more inclusive vision of societies including women who are afro-descendent, indigenous, from rural communities and LGBTIQA+ community, trans feminists, and among other marginalized communities, should be a top priority.

Along with myself, everyone gathered look forward to a meaningful outcome that would make a tangible difference for the world’s women and girls at this critical moment and time.

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2017 LEADer Isha
2017 LEADer Isha

In the year 2017, I got selected for Women LEAD Nepal's LEAD Course. It was a great privilege to be a part of the year-long LEAD Course and being trained alongside 29 other passionate young women. LEAD course's core components like the School Leadership Program (SLP) and Advocacy Projects played a significant role in enhancing my leadership skills.

Even after graduating from the year-long course, I was able to avail opportunities like Sujata Baskota Changemaker Award (SBCMA) at Women LEAD Nepal. Being a recipient of SBCMA 2019, I got to implement my own project-"Naritwa" at the community schools of Surkhet with my teammates; whereby I got to learn several skills like project management, networking, public speaking among many others. Our project "Naritwa", also known as Womanhood was aimed at providing awareness, especially to women, and to hold discussions with both genders so as to create a common understanding about reproductive health. Also, the project was designed to help women realize the importance of vaginal hygiene through various health camps and sessions. 

Similarly, as Women LEAD's alumni, I got a chance to mentor two young 2018 and 2019 LEADers. Having said that, I also had the great opportunity to be one of the mentors at WOW Madhesh's Speed Mentoring sessions. At Wow Madesh, I mentored young girls and provided guidance regarding their academic, personal, and professional concerns. 

Currently, I am working as a Program Assistant at a youth-led NGO that's working in the field of education. The skills I learned from Women LEAD Nepal during my LEAD Course, my internship at Women LEAD Nepal, and its other programs are very applicable to date and have greatly helped me excel in my current role. As Women LEAD Nepal provides a wide range of networks, it has given me the right exposure to connect with like-minded individuals and organizations. In addition to this, the experience of being a mentor at Women LEAD has proven to be an asset in my current role as it requires me to mentor young scholars at my current organization.

Undoubtedly, Women LEAD Nepal has fostered my personal and professional growth and has played a significant role in enhancing my leadership, followership, mentorship, facilitation, and public speaking skills. I am forever grateful and thankful to Women LEAD Nepal.

 

2017 LEADer Isha (right) performing during OWN IT
2017 LEADer Isha (right) performing during OWN IT
2017 LEADer Isha (left) during her graduation.
2017 LEADer Isha (left) during her graduation.

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Women LEAD

Location: Washington, DC - USA
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Twitter: @womenleadnepal
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Dipasa Bista
Washington, DC United States
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