Nepal is the 48th largest country in terms of the population sitting just above 28 million (UN estimate 2019) comprising 52.4% females and 47.6% males. According to the national data of 2011 Ad, the total literacy rate of Nepal is 65.9%, where the male and female literacy rates are 75% and 52% respectively. The data suggests less than 40% female population of rural areas are literate.
Long inherited culture of giving gender roles to men and women as “bread earners” and “household managers” respectively has definitely played a big part in the difference in the literacy rates between the two genders. And unfortunately, these traditions still exist in the Nepalese society.
Certainly, a lot has changed now and women are representing some of the top professions in the country. In fact, Nepal has its first woman president on today’s date. Women are also seen in top judiciary levels as well as in leadership positions of several humanitarian organizations. They are not only the face of highly successful women in our society but more so, positively reinforcing role models for generations to follow. They are an example of what education along with the right mindset and determination can achieve.
The Government of Nepal has also made it mandatory to include a certain percentage of women in political parties, government administration positions, non-profit organizations, etc. On top of that, different non-governmental organizations have started their supportive work with the government in spreading awareness on gender equality in mainly rural areas, where the effects of gender discrimination are seen the most.
Compared to 2001 A.D. where the literacy rate of women was 35%, a more recent data of 2011 A.D. shows the number has increased up to 57% which is a big jump, but in comparison to the literacy rate of men which is at 75%, there is still room for bridging the education gap between the two genders.