NEPAL: Female labourers demand equal pay
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
© Naresh Newar/IRIN
They work as hard as men - but only get half the pay
CHITWAN, 11 Jul 2006 (IRIN) - Female labourers in Nepal are angry that they continue to be discriminated against in terms of pay and a group have gone to the capital, Kathmandu, to take legal action against the government.
Kanchi Lama works eight hours a day at a construction site in the village of Madi in Chitwan district, 100 km southeast of the capital. She toils carrying bricks and is expected to work as hard as the men who labour alongside her. But come pay day, she gets just half a male wage.
This is the reality for millions of Nepalese women manual labourers on construction sites, quarries, brick kilns, farms and other informal employment sectors where employers often discriminate, women’s groups say.
“For a long time, women have had to endure the injustice of being paid much less than men for exactly the same work,” said activist Bishnu Maya Pande from the Womens’ Labour Advocacy Group, a local NGO that has been organising a series of campaigns to highlight the discrepancy.
“We will not stop our campaigns until justice is done,” said Sapana Bhandari, one of a group of female labourers who have been in Kathmandu for nearly a month. They are filing a case at the Supreme Court against the government, in order to end the discrimination.
According to the group, the minimum wage for men has been set at the local equivalent of US $2 for a day’s work but that women receive a maximum of $1.50 for the same hours and quantity of work.