Men must play a role in challenging gender inequality: Pitambar's story

Pitambar Koirala, a passionate advocate for gender equity and mental health in Nepal, has dedicated his life to empowering women and breaking down patriarchal norms. In his work, he has faced numerous challenges, but remains determined to create lasting change. 

Pitamnar Koirala, gender equity and mental health advocate in Nepal
Pitambar Koirala, gender equity and mental health advocate in Nepal

Pitambar was born and raised in a small, remote village in Nepal. Growing up, he witnessed first-hand the limitations and discrimination that women faced in his community. Women were confined to household chores and were not allowed to participate in decision-making. 

I’ve always believed that eradicating gender stereotypes and altering gender roles is the first step toward achieving equity for women, because of the gender roles that still exist in society today.

Pitambar Koirala

In Nepal, patriarchal norms are deeply rooted in some cultural traditions, making it difficult for women to speak out against discrimination. Despite the challenges of social and cultural norms, and with gender sensitivity a less well known concept, Pitambar has worked for a decade on the prevention and responses to gender-based violence and in conflict-affected areas where women are highly vulnerable. He has conducted dialogue with people who believed in such patriarchal norms, provided counselling services, and awareness programmes to reduce discrimination and increase gender sensitivity. He also advocated for government agencies to develop gender-sensitive programmes and policies. 

It is essential to have a dialogue with people who believe in patriarchal norms, provide capacity-building training, counselling services and awareness programmes to reduce discrimination and increase gender sensitivity.

Pitambar Koirala
Pitambar Korala in his office in Nepal
Pitambar Koirala is his office

Men must play their part in creating equal societies 

Pitambar believes that men are also equally responsible for peacebuilding process and it is essential for them to understand the concept of gender sensitivity and include women equally in each activity. For his part, he has focussed on empowering women to develop decision-making skills, raise self-esteem and self-confidence, and create awareness through counselling and self-awareness programmes.

Pitambar’s work has had a significant impact on the lives of women in Nepal, particularly in empowering them to have an active voice in society. He has established free 24-hour hotline counselling services, which has helped many women facing violence and psychosocial problems. His persistent effort and dedication to achieving gender equity and equality have made a positive impact in Nepal’s society and his work is an inspiration to many.

Despite the progress made in some urban areas, Pitambar recognises that patriarchal norms still hold strong in many communities where the patriarchal mindset is strongly anchored, which makes it difficult for women to break the silence.  

It is a long journey, so effort must be persistently given to achieve our goal. Action must be created across all individual, community and policy levels in parallel ways.

Pitambar Koirala

Pitambar’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the impact that one person can make in the fight for gender equality. His commitment to empowering women and promoting mental health is a powerful example of the impact that one person can make in creating a more just and equitable society. As he notes, “Equity is necessary.”