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Life for women and girls

Right from childhood, life is hard in villages for Nepali women and girls. Mortality rates are higher, literacy rates are lower, and work longer and harder, for less reward. While different ethnic groups have different cultural practices, some of which are more favourable to women, there are some commonly shared issues:

    • Patriarchal society, “women’s work“, violence (domestic, trafficking, etc.): 1 in 4 girls are involved in child labour
    • Young marriage, lack of family planning and high birth rate: only 1 in 10 women use family planning, and only 1 in 4 get antenatal care
    • Lower health and nutrition rates: women are 100 times more likely to die in child birth than in the UK
    • Illiteracy: only 1 in 5 women can properly read and write (Asian Development Bank)


Childhood, literacy and school

Only 1 in 5 women can properly read and write in Nepal. If a family can only afford to send some of their children to school, girls are usually the last choice. If they do go, they also have more work at home, which has an effect on their studies. The work they have to do that boys rarely do, includes:

    • Before going to school: Cleaning the house, washing utensils and clothes, lighting the fire, cooking, fetching water
    • In school: cleaning the classrooms, ringing the bell
    • After school: collecting fodder and wood, fetching water and cooking, feeding and grazing cattle, looking after siblings, cleaning and washing


Work and finances

Few women work in paid jobs in Nepal. Those that do are almost entirely within a few cities.

Paid job Some income Unpaid work
All Nepal

Women also have difficulty accessing finance too, except the informal kind which tends to have much higher risks.

Source of Credit Male Female
Institutional (banks)
Non-institutional (friends, relatives, moneylenders)


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