New beginnings for women living without a spouse in Nepal

In Nepal, widows, divorced and other unmarried women face many forms of stigma and discrimination. Through KIOS grantee’s work, they have been informed about their rights, are better able to organise and run their own cause.

In Nepal, many traditions and beliefs contribute to discrimination against women living without a spouse. KIOS’ Nepalese grantee Women for Human Rights – Single Women Group (WHR) has gathered information on the challenges and human rights violations experienced by women living without a spouse. The most common problem is violence against women. Polygamy and inheritance problems also exist, even though polygamy is prohibited by law and widows have the right to inherit.

During the year-long project, the organization documented 1117 cases of violence against women in the southern Terai region, and women were further assisted by providing the necessary services and legal assistance.

Only 11 percent of Nepali widows are literate, making their lives even more difficult. Without literacy, it is difficult to support oneself and one’s children and gain knowledge of one’s rights.

With the support of KIOS, WHR organised trainings and workshops for women living without a spouse. The training provided women with information about their rights, such as access to support from the Protection Fund for Unmarried Women.

Women were also offered workshops on how they can participate in society and influence decision-makers. The organization has helped women set up groups of unmarried women in municipalities to work together to improve the situation of women. Women are now better organized and dare to demand the rights and services that belong to them.

The authorities also received training on the situation and rights of women living without a spouse. Local authorities are now more willing to work with and support women’s groups.