- Age: 28
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Let's make our fight for gender equality an intersectional one. Let's foster solidarity among women and girls from all corners of the world with diverse experiences, different backgrounds, and various privileges and prejudices. Let us break free from the shackles of inherent and internalized biases passed down through generations as we challenge gender disparity at the institutional, social, cultural, and religious levels.
- Arya Manandhar
Arya Manandhar was born and raised in Nepal. Arya received a Master’s Degree in International Relations at the University of Warwick, UK, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Mount Carmel College, India. At present, Arya is the founder of her initiative Greentech for Women, the National Advisor to the Centre for Diplomacy and Development (CDD), and a UNESCO Youth Mentor for Sri Lanka. She has also joined the advisory group (AG) for the Women Deliver conference (WD2023). She has conducted workshops and talk sessions on platforms provided by the European Women’s Lobby, IFM.SEI, the Council of Europe, the Woodcraft Folks Charity Foundation, the Asian Development Bank’s COP26, and The College of New Jersey. She has appeared as a judge in the finale round of Global Peace Women’s “Building Back Better—COVID-19” competition. As a former consultant in the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), Geneva Headquarters, she played a crucial role in the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Assessment Mission of the Indian National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)—8th Battalion as the Team Secretary along with emergency experts from 8 countries, and in the initiation of UN classification of the Directorate of Disaster Response—Nepal Army.
What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?
My interest in gender quality was ignited by several narratives and instances. One such moment was learning about my great-grandmother, who fought the legal battle to inherit her ancestral property in a conservative age when such laws had not yet been constituted. According to the 2017 Civil Code, children now have equal rights regardless of their gender and regardless of their marital status. Early on, I recognized the importance of the steps we are taking today to combat gender inequality, steps that give us hope for a gender-equal society in future generations. This has always driven me to examine various biases that are usually internalized and systematic, making it difficult to obtain citizenship under the mother’s name or to demand equal pay at work. I began to question the deeply rooted cultural and religious traditions, rituals, and religious sanctions that promote practices like "Chaupadi" early on. Another issue that intrigued me was the evolving society, which brought with it a combination of traditional and new challenges for working women. Brands that advertise their products stereotypically normalize the disproportionate distribution of domestic labor or the unpaid care that working women perform as compared to their partners.
Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.
As a former UNESCO youth researcher, I engaged in discussions with ministers and heads of state on the gendered effects of COVID-19, which burdened young women volunteers with unpaid care and "double labor," exacerbated by a lack of policies ensuring remuneration, safety, psychosocial intervention, and SRH. I view recommending evidence-based policies, monitoring pledges, disseminating research data in major Nepali newspapers, participating in television interviews, and engaging in panel discussions with technical and policy experts from the UN System, academia, the government, and civil society as my finest accomplishments from the previous year. We were able to effectively stop the Nepal Immigration Department's proposed policy of forcing women migrant workers to get permission from their families and local authorities before traveling abroad by working with a number of stakeholders. This was my second-most big win. Finally, developing an eco-feminist program, Greentech for Women, and conducting workshops for the Asian Development Bank COP-Resilience Hub, The College of New Jersey, Woodcraft Folks, the European Women's Lobby’s AGORA, IFM.SEI and Council of Europe's conference, Global Peace Foundation, and the ICCCAD’s Gobeshona conference has been a brilliant opportunity to convey our passion for an eco-friendly world that directly benefits women and vice versa.
Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?
I love exploring different cultures, cuisines, and places. I enjoy reading, traveling, and spending quality time with family and friends
- English (Advanced/Native)
- Hindi (Advanced/Native)
- Nepali (Advanced/Native)
- Newari (Advanced/Native)
- Urdu (Intermediate)
- Gender, Climate Change and Eco-feminist solutions: Women's Health, Economic Empowerment, Girl Child Education and Climate Crisis Interlinkage
- Religious and Cultural Practices through a Gendered Lens
- Gender-centric and Intersectional Approach to Disaster Preparedness and Response
Past Awards, Certifications, or Fellowships:
- Youth Mentor - UNESCO Youth As Researcher (YAR) (2022)
- National Advisor - Center for Development and Diplomacy (CDD) Nepal (2022)
- Abstract Reviewer - International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) (2022)
- Planning Committee for Asia and the Pacific Region Multi-Country Workshop - Women Deliver (2022)
- Guest Lecturer - The College of New Jersey (2021)
- Global Leadership Award – Nations of Women (NOW) (2021)
- Youth Ambassador - Word Literacy Foundation (2020)
- Gender Expert, Women To Watch - WOW Magazine (2020)