Being a woman in Nepal

We all know that gender inequality exists around the world but many of you might not know about the situation for women in Nepal.

Right now, I don’t care about political correctness. The fact is, in Nepal, men are treated ‘higher’ than women. It’s a reality. Yes it’s their culture, but in my opinion, it’s wrong.

I haven’t gauged this view just by what I have heard from Rabindra, I have also spoken to many other Nepalese men and women and did some research on the topic.

Here’s what I’ve learnt about Nepalese society and women so far:

-Many people believe that if you don’t have a son, you will go to hell. As the majority of Nepalese people are devout Hindus, they do believe this and would rather risk dying from extreme poverty then not have a son. I saw a documentary where this poor village woman was giving birth to her fifth baby and was distraught when she saw it was a girl. The family barely had enough for one meal a day yet they were still trying for a son. Her husband living in India did not want to talk to her after the baby was born. It’s not uncommon for women to commit suicide because of the pressure they face to have a son from their husband and even their own families. 

-When women are menstruating they are seen as ‘impure’. Recently I was talking to a girl at this Nepalese Dashain party (Nepal’s major festival, kind of like our Christmas). We were all receiving blessings and getting a red tikka mark on our forehead and she didn’t get hers. I asked why. She told me she had her period and couldn’t receive one. She was the only person without a tikka on her head at the party. She told me “this is one of the shit things about Nepalese culture”. She said there was no pressure from her husband or anyone at the party but she knew within herself that she shouldn’t accept it. The result was that the 15+ people at the party all knew she had her period. As an Australian girl, I couldn’t imagine this type of embarrassment.

-Women are also not allowed to cook or serve food and drinks when they have their period. Rabindra’s parents don’t follow this at all but he told me that older generations in his family are very strict about this.

-Women fast for the long-life of their husbands. At a number of major festivals such as Teej (Women’s Festival), the women fast (no drinks, water or food at all) and pray for 24 hours or more for the health and long-life of their husband. If you are an unmarried woman, you fast and pray in the hope that you will find a good husband! At the recent Teej festival, my friends were fasting for 24 hours and asked me if I would be as well. I decided to fast only for breakfast and lunch but drank water and had some dinner.

-Women don’t usually get land/property. In Australia when a family member dies it’s usually put in the Will that the remaining family shares out the assets including the home and property. In Nepal, it’s normally only ever given to the sons. Very rarely do women get any assets. This could be because nearly all women go and live with their husband’s family anyway after marriage.

-If a man goes into a bar he is seen as fun, sociable party guy. If a woman is seen in a bar they are accused of being a prostitute, a ‘bad girl’ whom a man would never marry.

-If a man has sex before marriage, amongst his mates he has seen as pretty awesome. Yet if a woman has sex before marriage, men think she will never get married and if her husband finds out she is not a virgin, he has to right to leave her.

Photo courtesy of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal

It is fair to say that the uneducated people living in rural villages are the ones most likely to take these practices quite seriously however some of the ‘softer’ beliefs are also held by the modern, non-conservative families as well.

On the other hand to all of this, compared to some Muslim cultures, Nepalese women aren’t treated that badly after all. And at festivals and family occasions the girls/women are normally showered with more gifts and money than men. In some of Rabindra’s family, the women are treated like the head of the households (instead of the man) and the young girls in the extended family are the favourites.

I’m also not saying Nepalese men treat their wives badly. It’s just what they’ve grown up with. Also, violence against women is taken seriously. It’s just some aspects of the culture, as I have highlighted in this blog, that I don’t agree with.

One of the good things for me is that Rabindra believes many of these practices are outdated and outrageous. He never says I have to fast for his long life and he says if we only have girls and no sons, he will be just as happy. He certainly doesn’t tell me I can’t cook when I have my period. I think he would be lost if that happened! Jokes!

However it’s still played a part in our relationship in smaller ways. I’ve had to get used to the whole ‘boy’s club’ where men hang out regularly without their women (this is something I will post about later).

Also in Nepalese culture, women rarely drink. Being an Aussie who likes to drink alcohol (like 99% of the female population), this is one aspect I’ve had to adapt to in my relationship out of respect for his culture. Rabindra doesn’t think I should be out drinking in bars too late or coming home drunk but he has no problem with me drinking whilst hanging out with my friends. I can understand this from a western perspective as well and I respect this. I am also against him doing this too much as well. When I go to Nepal, I have to be very careful about the perception I give and I won’t be drinking in front of his family, that’s for sure!

The health of Nepalese women is another matter again. According to SIGI, Nepal is one of the few countries in the world in which the life expectancy of women is lower than that of men. Read more at http://genderindex.org/country/nepal

Although progress is being made to improve gender equality in Nepal, these patriarchal traditions are rooted deep in Nepalese history. Real change will only take place when the next generation coming through takes a stand against these serious forms of cultural prejudice.

What do you think? Do women in other Asian countries have to deal with similar cultural prejudice as Nepalese women? Please share…

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42 Responses to Being a woman in Nepal

  1. Cipher says:

    Great post. Well written and insightful. It is sad that I would call this good treatment of women compared to some other countries and cultures.

  2. americanepali says:

    Menstruation taboos in Nepal are very interesting but frustrating. I would be absolutely mortified if everyone at the Dashain party new that I had my period, its such a private thin in the west. In fact, when our friends got married over the summer, some of their cousins and good friends didn’t think they would be allowed in the temple for the ceremony because they were menstruating, and back in Nepal they probably wouldn’t have been allowed, but since the ceremony was in the temple corridor and not in the temple proper they were allowed to attend. But there was a debate, so again it was an open topic of conversation.

    I’m worried that my family is going to be all up in arms during our Nepali wedding over the summer because at some point of the ceremony I have to touch P’s feet. While I don’t mind doing it, I can see some of my relatives saying, “they make her touch his feet like a slave! his culture must not be good!”

    Luckily times are changing and particularly in Kathmandu some of the restrictions aren’t as bad as they used to be, and P and his family are pretty liberal, but the cultural differences can sometimes be intense!

    • I feel for you about the touching P’s feet. people will not understand it’s a cultural/respect thing instead they will think you are like a slave. I think my dad would freak out if he saw me doing that…whereas i have no problem doing it

    • hungrydai says:

      I am married to a Nepali but I am male so I don’t have to adapt to much. We live together in Kathmandu in my wife’s house. Yes she bought this land with her sister as an investment and here we are. I can relate to all these blogs and comments because I know exactly how it is here. All my Nepali relatives are very easygoing about almost everything (even wonderful old Grandmother) although they still have all their rich old traditions back in the village. If any of the ladies want to join us for some wine in the evenings, they do. The family is Newari and absolutely nice. It’s not the Nepali way at all but to much extent the way I’ve shown them. Yes it’s outrageous that everybody should know about the woman’s period and that women get excluded then. And for sure if the woman must touch the man’s feet, the man should have to do the same.

  3. Cipher says:

    That is the first time I have heard of menstruation being a taboo. I’ll have to look into that more – interested to see what the origin of that may have been.

    All weddings have challenges – you should have seen the fun when my atheist mother attended my brother’s wedding to a Catholic girl. I told my mom I would never speak to her again if she said any words other than “congratulations” and “I am happy for them” during the ceremony and reception.

    • I loved your atheist story, it’s hard when it’s a close family member and the cultural/religious matter is so important to them but they can’t fathom that the person it actually affects has no problem at all with it

  4. Bianca Leigh says:

    As much as I find so many of those facts very confronting and they enrage me beyond belief, the fact that Rabindra has beliefs and values that are in line with yours is extremely comforting to me. I guess it transforms the whole issue from being an intercultural divider between the two of you (which I know causes you great stress and concern, so you don’t need any more of those!), into being a current political issue, and one that’s close to both of your hearts- one that you can have intelligent conversations and be passionate advocates about together. I guess what I’m trying to say is that your beautifully written and informed piece Casey makes it so evident that whilst there’s a stark reality that is difficult to comprehend because it is so closely associated with the one you love, it isn’t a reflection of the person you love nor is it an indicator of how your relationship may be in the future. I hope that writing the piece you came to similar conclusions Case :)

  5. Gori Girl says:

    Jainism also sees menstruating as a taboo – you’re not suppose to enter Jain temples if you’re menstruating.

    I think it’s a struggle in most countries to gain gender equality embedded in the culture, but, of course, some countries have made more strides than others. The US is far from perfect here, but I do agree that an objective observer will find Nepal (or India) as further behind in many of the key aspects – education, health, income earned, and so forth.

    In development literature, the point of educating girls and women is always hammered home – an educated girl grows up into a women who makes sure her children (both boys and girls) get a better education, have higher levels of health care, and you see a significant reduction in these sort of cultural beliefs (which are held by both women and men) which stymie both personal and societal growth.

  6. Gregory Cowan says:

    Living in a Muslim country, I agree about women’s rights.

    HOWEVER, we MUST respect their beliefs and cultural differences, as much as we disagree with it. Remember there really is no such thing as right and wrong, its all about perceptions.

    • vp says:

      That is pure post-modernist nonsense. Why “must” we respect beliefs that are clearly deleterious to human cultural development? Did Martin Luther King Jr. “have to respect” the cultural belief in his day that non-whites were less whole as people? Or the suffragettes the notion that women could not possibly contribute to the public sphere? There is a right and wrong, and degrading a person’s humanity is wrong. Justifying that degradation through appeal to immoral principles of “tradition” is equally wrong.

  7. KC says:

    I just recently found your blog and I’m excited about it because now I “know” (through the internet, ha) at least two other white girls who are in a relationship with a Nepali guy (you and C!). This post was interesting and something that S and I have discussed alot. I would not consider myself a “feminist” in the stereotypical bra burning way that people tend to think of them in America…but I definitely speak up if I think there is injustice to women. At the same time, I have respect for traditional “gender roles” and I think they have their place too if they are what people choose to do.

    I am fortunate that S is pretty progressive in most ways and I think his parents influenced him because his mom worked outside of the home, etc. But every now and then he will say something that makes me remember that he grew up in such a patriarchal society-and I have to set him straight ;-).

    We have had many discussions on “double standards” (a term I taught him and one that he thinks I overuse when talking about this). I think we have both helped each other see things in a new light just by discussing it. He doesn’t like me to go to a bar or get drunk now without him present and I respect that….but I also ask the same of him.

    I feel like I had something relevant to say when I started typing but I have gotten off track and lost my relevant thought :) It happens….but please keep blogging. I am enjoying your blog and your thoughts.

  8. KC says:

    I just clicked over to cnn right after posting the above and this story was featured and I thought it was interesting. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/world/asia/21gender.html?_r=1&WT.mc_id=GN-PS-E-OB-PS-TXT-GN-ROS-0810-NA&WT.mc_ev=click

  9. Aamba says:

    I always thought the girl baby thing was ridiculous. For one, obviously girls and boys are both important or else there will be no more human race; but also many, many sects of Hinduism do not believe in the existence of hell, yet some sects have it in the beliefs just to scare people?

  10. luckyfatima says:

    I have similar thoughts about Pakistani women and gender oppression. Through no effort of my own, I was born into a life of relative freedom. In the US we are still a long way from gender equality. But compared to women in much of the world, my life is much more privileged, including in the ways in which gender oppresses me. There is also a fine line between being a respectful foreigner with our private observations, and moving into racist, imperialistic criticisms of South Asian cultures. I am not as concerned about mentrual taboos as I am about people feeding girl children less food (since they belong to their inlaws), deciding to educate male children and not females, and all of the other stuff (issues which are tied to poverty and limited resources as well as to gender oppression). But I realize that even with menstrual taboos, all of this is interrelated in the big picture.

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  12. Broadway says:

    First of all, i would not believe the stated reasons for the practices if i were you.

    On the male offspring:
    Nepal, like india, is a male dominated society. In both cultures, one of the sons inherits his parents. One of the sons(and his wife) is supposed to take care of the parents. This type of family structure seems modest but it has its flaws. The parents will try several times to bear a son.

    In indic system, a girl does not marry just the boy but the whole family. Both the in-laws and the son play a part in the choosing of the bride. That is why most indic men have to gain their mothers approval. The son is important because he is obliged to provide for all the women in his family.

    On menstruation:
    This is a known practice in some regions in india. Some famous temples in south india prohibit girls above the age of ten from entering the premise. Though the practice has started fading away quickly since the advent of sanitary napkins advertisements on tv.

    On women fasting for husbands age longevity:
    Nepal seems to be at a stage where india was in the early nineties. I remember some relatives in my family doing this back then but it just faded away with time. I can say that the women in those days had a lot of free time to engage in these practices.

    On property sharing
    Again, this is mainly because of the importance of the male son in the indic family system. A female child is considered to be a “pariah” – someone who will be a part of another family in the future. You will need to change the whole family system to make the daughter eligible for her rights on the property.

    Most of it has economic angles. India changed a lot(massive) since it liberalised its economy in 1991. Like i said, nepal is sort of like in the early 90s india where people had a lot of free time and did a lot of crazy nonsense. In-a-way, the greed to accumulate wealth is good.

  13. ~rangi-changi~ says:

    For our engagement ceremony, we had planned on having it at a temple(one of the few Hindu temples in Ktm that allows us ‘impure’ goris to enter, I forget which one). The day before the ceremony I found out that my sister-in-law was not going to attend because she was menstruating. I insisted that we have the ceremony at home instead and my in-laws were OK with it. My husband does not follow most of the taboos although in other ways he is very ‘old school’(never drinks ‘raksi’ or eats meat, same as me). Since Teej has mostly fallen on work days since our marriage I have followed a modified fast only(fruit, yogurt and water) – if it is on a weekend day where I don’t have to worry about passing out and falling on the subway tracks I may try to do more – though I imagine it must be more bearable in Nepal where you can sing and dance with your sisters and friends to take your mind off your hunger.

  14. Kay says:

    At the end of the day, it really depends. Nepali society as a whole isn’t very uniform. I’m an only child and my parents purposely chose not to try having another kid. Pretty much everyone in my extended family drinks alcohol (except my mom coz she’s aversive to the smell). Most Nepali girls I’ve met abroad are really into partying and they’d giggle if someone told them they’re non-marriage material, and then they’d tell them to go to hell. No one in my family follows through with the period rule (except my mom’s mother who still lives in Nepal).

  15. p says:

    I absolutely love your blog. I can relate to almost everything you say in your blog. Be it on your perspective towards marriages done to please the family, or on the embarrassment or isolation Nepali women have to face just cause of a natural menstrual cycle we women go though. I am gonna come back and read all your blog articles just I don’t feel like a rebellion within my family and my relationship.

    • Thank you P. Really glad you are enjoying my blog. It’s great to hear others in the same situation :)

      • Linda says:

        I am in a relationship with a Nepali man ‘R’ who i love very much . He is in US and his family is insisting he come back home ,which he does not want to do . His sister has sent me emails saying she is tired of waiting for him to come back and will involve the police if i don’t send him back . I am not holding him against his will . She has lied and said his parents are in bad health . They do have some health problems but are doing well and ‘R’ sends money to provide for them . His family says he has accomplished nothing in his time here and they hate him working as a waiter .He is well educated but that is the only work he can get in our area . It hurts me when they say hurtful things to him. His brother who works in a bank in Nepal makes no more than him so i guess it hurts their pride. . I don’t expect then to love me but i cant understand why they cant respect the fact he is with me [12 years] and we love each other .. They said recently they wanted him to come home and marry a Nepali woman .Do they not consider what HE wants ? Are all Nepali families like this ?

      • This type of family manipulation is common in Nepal and in many south asian relationships. It will all come back to him, his values and what type of man he is. Some Nepali men will give in and do what their family wants, others will challenge their families and make their own decisions.I cannot believe you have been together for 12 years and this has not been an issue in the past. No, not all families are like this but this certainly happens. I hope you are ok. feel free to contact me

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  17. Kamana says:

    Hi I am Nepalese.You were really lucky enough to get such a loving partner along with his family,who accepted you so easily.Good uck :)

  18. kumar Kshatri says:

    this is great post and i enjoyed reading it. NO other countries in the world has more respect than women than Nepal. every brother bow their head in sister”s feet every year. kings, prime ministers and now even president of Nepal warship women as goddess. all of ours great festivals like dassian, dedicated to goddess durga, gadimai is for the goddess and Diwali(tihar) is also consider the festival of sisters. biggest temple of Nepal are for the goddess for example janki(sita) temple and you can find many others temple.
    As per cultural things.
    if you wanna reject all the social code designed according to religion. you can be the atheist,
    simple as this

    • Yes you might do those things for sister and celebrate women’s festivals etc. but no, you are not right that nepal has most respect for many out of every country. it’s Simply not true. in my view, women are not equal in nepal

      • Pratik Poudyal says:

        I agree to some of the things that this blog is all about but I disagree to most of the things. Casey, you come from a typical western upbringing and looks like you have a preconceived idea about cultures different than yours. Everything you see in Nepal different than that happening in Australia, you try to link it with culture or religion. Lets have a look what you have pointed out

        1. Many people believe that if you don’t have a son, you will go to hell
        Well how many people are many people? Do you have any statistics regarding this ? I agree that many people in Nepal want to have at least a son because our society is a Patriarchal and I’m sure so is Australia. Otherwise, you would have kept Rajendra in your home, AUS wouldn’t you? And I’m sure most women in AUS go to their husband’s home happily after they get married. One thing I couldn’t understand why a devout HINDU would believe this. A devout HINDU wouldn’t believe this at all as gender equality is highly encouraged in Hinduism, people who do otherwise are just ignorant to the fact..In Hinduism, God is worshipped in both male and female form and much much much more.(Will explain religion is some other time).

        2. Women fast for the long-life of their husbands: Actually Teej is the only festival where women fast for their husband. And most women do fruit fast or not fast because they might feel weak. And fruit fasting is quite acceptable. At other times, both male and female fast on certain days, usually once or twice a week, if they want. The benefit of fast is that it has numerous health benefits, proper weight and detoxification. The west is learning about this only lately. There are festivals too where males show respect to females. If a woman feels she cant fast or if she is sick, she is highly encouraged in NEPALESE CULTURE not to fast while she enjoys the festival with zeal. Its not compulsory for an unmarried girl to fast.

        The thing is that, being a journalist, you have failed to do your job. It shows that You have failed to investigate and understand things. In Nepal, people in cities don’t follow most of the outdated customs whereas people in rural areas do? Why do you think is that? LACK OF EDUCATION? MAYBE? Do you even know the history of Nepal? Its sad how you relate things in Nepal with only culture and Religion and not other factors. What about bad things Christians have done up until now? What about racism in Australia? Mrs. Casey you pretend as if your country is a rose garden but please try to clean your home before you try to even think that your neighbors are dirty. If the west was so pure, clean, flawless and so equality loving they would have given equal rights to Nepalese soldiers who fought along with Brits. And what about the attitude of Whites towards the Aboriginals in AUS?

        It made me laugh so much when you mentioned “I’m also not saying Nepalese men treat their wives badly. It’s just what they’ve grown up with” Really? You are not saying but you are saying but I think you are wrong.

        Please don’t try to defame Nepal and exaggerate things. Nepal is becoming better for for its people and the world. We love our true culture and not what you think our culture is.

      • I am not being a journalist on this blog. I am expressing my opinions as a foreigner on Nepal. You love your culture, not all Nepalis who live abroad do. I bet you have never left Nepal and you are probably poorly educated therefore you probably defend discrimination and attacks on women. Says a lot about you. I’ll say whatever I want about Nepal. There are so many bad things about that country and I will continue to write about them. I’m not defaming your country, get a grip of yourself

  19. ujjwal says:

    Hi i am a Nepalese man ! yes we have a wired culture, and we do so many nonsense thing,and regarding this period thing ! I think the logic was to give the women a rest for the house work or any kind of work as she will be in pain or some kind of illness during her period as she not 100% , so the logic is to give her rest and not to involve her in any kind of work or efforts, but that thing is misunderstood and followed wrongly in Nepal, i am with a white girl too, she is English and she understands it well after i explained logically, but yeah the practice is definitely a bad one, but don’t think it will last long, We are changing in a good speed.

    • Never thought of it like that. Thanks for the insight

      • hungrydai says:

        Neither did I before, Casey. And sleeping on a floor when menstruating ? I know all about these things from the village. In my family several of the women don’t join us for a glass of wine because it’s ingrained in them that women aren’t supposed to drink. But then again, most of the women that would like to have some wine with us, will drink. My family is not typical all and especially the younger members who have far more freedom than the elders had. Nepal is gradually changing. I have noticed that Nepalese who have gone to live abroad have totally different lifestyles then they would back in Nepal. But so many of them have a good sense of responsibility for their families still here. There is huge inequality between the genders here in Nepal and even in modern Kathmandu.

      • Nice to meet you, Dai. It’s so nice to hear your story. I subscribed to your blog today. I’m happy to hear you make the women in your life feel accepted for having a drink. It is a drink after all!!

      • hungrydai says:

        Hi Casey. I was in Nepal the first time when I was just a teenager, many years ago… In those days all marriages were arranged and not all arranged marriages work as you can guess.. So many people had unhappy livesand there were many suicides. It still happens now of course but these days young people get to know each other and fall in love and are not just forced by their families to marry people they don’t love. Thirty years ago if a woman wore light western clothes she was branded as loose by the community and no local person would marry her. Nowadays women wear what they like, at least in most of Nepal.. One of the most pitiful cases I came across was a wonderful and kind young woman who had a drunkard husband and she ran away from him and refused to go back to him. After that, every time she talked to any male, tongues wagged and local people branded her a prostitute. She finally found happiness and married a German man and went to live in Germany. It is far better these days Casey and so many Nepalis marry western men. Nowadays my neighbours can say hello to me, walk along the lane and exchange a few words, even though they are young married females. That would never happen thirty years ago or she would be branded a slut. And it’s increasingly common nowadays for a female to enjoy a drink with friends sometimes. But I know a foul woman who doesn’t care what anybody thinks about her. She can drink twice as much as I can and her tongue is razor sharp. I hope I never encounter her again. I had the misfortune to be invited to a dinner locally and she had been invited too. For some reason she decided to belittle me and western people in general but I had to consider the hosts who are good friends of ours. So I held my tongue. You will rarely meet such people in Nepal and most are polite and friendly. In my Newari family, although all traditions are still observed, the woman are all liberated and lead the lives they want to. I watch with great interest as the younger members live in both worlds. A modern 21st century life in Kathmandu and an old, traditional life back in the village. But they carry it off so easily and I’m very proud of them.

  20. Pratik Poudyal says:

    The practice is good if it is done for what it is meant to be. Ofcourse if people do things out of context and meaning its wrong. We must follow out practices the way they are meant and open eyes of the the ignorants.

  21. hungrydai says:

    Excellently written Casey. You have a clear understanding of the way it is for women here. Times are changing though and some changes are really for the worse unfortunately. But there are many good changes too.

  22. pooja says:

    Hi,

    I have been reading your blog for a while but decided to comment on this one :) I don’t know if you still update it frequently?

    I am a 21-year old Nepali girl living in Europe. Nepali society as a whole for women is still very regressive. It is true that Nepal has many ethnic groups and it really depends on families, but at the end of the day, the condition of women is more or less the same in the majority of the country. The kind of problems we face might be different but like you said, males are automatically one step above. Though my family is modern, the society (comprising of everybody of course) isn’t. When I went to Nepal last year, I had a clearer picture (esp after living in Europe) of how women are controlled in everything they do, wear, act etc. Many women don’t realize this and are happy to be treated this way because this has always been our “culture”. It’s very hard to convince the elder population ( the moral police), brainwashed with age-old traditions, about the double standards we women face face. I tried explaining to my 51 year olf aunt (she was furious over some random girl in the neighborhood wearng shorts) that it’s her body, and nobody can tell her what to wear, but she wouldn’t listen. Her logic was that women who dress like that are precisely asking for harrassments and rapes by dressing “immodestly”. If only we focused on the important things rather than minding people’s personal businesses…On the positive side however, things are slowly progressing, especially among the educated families. I am happy that your husband is understanding.

  23. hari says:

    That is in Hindu society of Nepal.They brought the castism, men is greater than women in almost every aspect and so on in the country. Not in other society. For example in eastern society where there is more mongoliod people they never practice these stuff. Note you that eastern people are more educated than western part of Nepal. I am telling you the fact. I am not baised. It might hurt you in some way and sorry for that.

  24. Von says:

    I am an Aussie girl that’s been married with a nepali man for 6 years and lived with some of my in-laws for few years I have also visited Nepal a couple times.
    Over the years I have realised that most of these cultural practices, no matter how absurd they can sometimes seem, stem from some practical and usually economic need.
    If you have had to live daily life in more traditional households in Nepal you would understand that the menstruation taboo obviously stems from the difficulty of maintaining cleanliness and comfort when menstruating. After all blood can carry disease and sickness. It was probably easier for everyone for the menstruating women to stay somewhere already contaminated than contaminating the cleaner household and village areas. However, it can seem absurd that some educated people in Nepal believe today that this practice is somehow linked to god.
    In traditional Nepali society a woman’s survival depended on her marriage to a man that had enough money or land to provide food for her to eat. Her parents could not afford to look after her. And when a girl was marriageable it would be in her best interests to dress and behave in a way which said ‘I will be faithful to my husband, and won’t cause any trouble to your family.’ Mens’ families had to trust an acquaintance to come and have access to their resources. The women wouldn’t complain- they have been given the gift of a livelihood-much better than being a beggar.
    As humans we adapt our cultural practices to our practical needs but nowadays the cultural changes (often generational) are slower than the rapid changes in our globalising world. Nepal was closed off from the world for so long and developed strict and unique cultural practices that are now changing RAPIDLY. And when business becomes a bigger part of Nepal and women have the opportunity to earn their own livelihood-everything will slowly change once they have that power and independence.

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