Parvati Bhandari, 30, is among the few women in Nepal who hold influential government positions. She is the District Governance Expert of the DCC (District Development Committee) of Banke. Working in partnership with various community based organizations, she is a key decision-maker in local governance.
Parvati realizes that the stereotypes around women in positions of responsibility are tough to breach. “Women who do not confine themselves to household chores are viewed as rebels,” she said. “But then it’s our responsibility to change the negative perception of the society by showing our presence in the decision making positions. This thought is also echoed by the radio drama Gaun Gaun Ma Singha Durbar.”
Parvati is an avid listener of the program. She is impressed by the two female characters, that she considers authentic symbols of women empowerment. “The Superintendent Police and Village Development Committee secretary are strong-willed women, who hold influential positions in the society. These characters overcome social scrutiny with their wits, sheer determination, and self-belief,” Parvati said. “The message for me after listening to these influential female characters is to believe in oneself, and never give up.” She strongly believes that the radio drama has the power to battle gender stereotypes, and establish women as positive role models in the society. She is encouraging her colleagues to listen to it, especially her male counterparts, so that they can better understand the challenges that women face in contemporary Nepali society. “It will not only enlighten them, but also encourage them to be more respectful towards us”, concludes Parvati with a smile.