Social Science Baha

Design and Delivery of Affirmative Action for Gender and Inter-caste Equality in Nepal

Meena Acharya

The paper argues that multi-dimensional inequality in results is a function of multi-dimensional inequalities and inequities in the socio-political and economic structures. But each of these factors impact differently in different social groups. In Nepal, while inter-ethnic/geographic/religious group inequality may be a result of political design, geographic remoteness and intra-group cultural /religious/social practices, gender and caste inequality is more a matter of social and in the case of women even the legal rights. Therefore, even with equal political and legal rights and proportional representation in political institutions, women, Dalits and the marginalized ethnicities will need other kinds of affirmative action, which must address the additional factors that lead to unequal access to state and other social resources. But these must be designed in a way not to infringe on the rights of other groups and individuals. They must have a time limit until approximate proportionality is achieved by broad groups. But the proportionality sought must be by political/social status and economic power of the position and not by each profession or sectors of employment.