Participants in this workshop discussed and shared information about the efforts of women in post-conflict Nepal to promote peace and women’s empowerment, whether as activists, members of social movements, politicians, writers, or in any other capacity. The objective of the workshop was to gain a better understanding of the efforts and challenges, and the meaning of empowerment as seen by women themselves.

Topics of discussion:

Is participation in militaries empowering for women?

In South Asia today, more women are joining the armed forces as well as peacekeeping missions, but with what consequences? Is participation in militaries (state or non-state) empowering for women? Was there a transformative power in the Maoist gender ideology, and were gender values positively transformed during the Maoist conflict?

Has the conflict resolution empowered or disempowered women?

In post-conflict Nepal, what has happened to the female ex-combatants, and do women in non-state militaries have anything to contribute to the rebuilding of a more peaceful, tolerant, just and secure society? What are the particular difficulties in the transition of female ex-combatants into politics, activism, governance, or the security forces? Can women's participation in peacebuilding bring in a 'transformative agenda' and expand the post-conflict space for rights and justice?

How can peace be empowering for women?

Does affirmative action (quotas or reservation) for women make political parties more responsive to gender equality issues? Does reservation help create constituencies with an interest in gender equality and women's empowerment? Can we expect women assembly/committee members to promote women's empowerment when their role is to promote the interests of their constituency?