Do voices of the people bring a BIG change in the system of a community, or nation or the world? Malala Yousafzai, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and many other great personalities of the world changed the map of the world’s system by taking the voices into practical actions. Who else has imagined that the local campaigner involved in continuous movements and campaigns would have risen to the policy-making role on gender rights at the UN? She is none-other than Bandana Rana who is a leading advocate of women’s rights and gender equality in Nepal.
Dedicating her career of 3 decades in advocacy, research, public outreach, and community mobilization programs, she has raised her voice against sexual abuse, domestic violence, gender disparity which used to be considered as taboo topics to discuss in an open manner. It’s the truth that the ray of hope always resides in the darkness and once the light is unleashed, there is the beginning of prosperity. Bandana Rana shared in one interview that she had suffered from molestation in her past days but she had to stay quiet due to conservative societal norms. She represents her active participation in the #metoo movement. Her continuous selfless efforts and strong dedication have led her to reach the voices of gender equality and fight against domestic violence from the national level to the global level.
Pursuing profession as a TV journalist 30 years ago, Bandana Rana had been reading and producing the news on Nepal Television. As a journalist, gender rights activist, and women activist at a time, she had been preparing different reports and documentaries on rural women. Bandana Rana is a co-founder of Saathi which has been working on domestic violence in Nepal and Sancharika, a forum for women journalists in Nepal. She was involved in drafting shadow reports for the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Due to her encouragement of friends for participating in the election, she took part in the election and she became the first Nepali elected as a member of the committee of the United Nations CEDAW. She became the Vice-Chair of the committee for the year 2019.
Bandana Rana is also only a South Asian member on the committee. In fact, she secured sixth place among 23 seats in the committee and she is now part of CEDAW’s law-making body. There were over two dozen candidates in the fray for 11 posts available in the committee in which Nepal accumulated 106 votes out of total 189 votes. Her local experiences have got an international platform to represent her dialogues on domestic violence and gender disparity in the global network. Bandana Rana is a recipient of the Women of Distinction Award by the UN NGO Committee on the Status of Women in New York for her outstanding leadership, profound devotedness, and extraordinary contribution towards upgrading women locally and globally.
Commitment and efficacious ways of rejuvenating the vision always produce the desired results. Bandana Rana has been dedicating her entire life to the fight against gender discrimination and domestic violence. She is a woman leader of global stature and her voice is the action plan to implement. She is the chair of the Global Network of Women Peace Builder (GNWP). She is a former chair of the National Women’s Commission of Nepal, a key architect of Nepal’s National Action Plan on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions on Women Peace and Security with the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction.
Her strong commitment towards gender equality, gendered conflict transformation, and peacebuilding engendered media has been a contribution to the world to fight against domestic violence and inequality. Her depth research, advocacy, and profound dedication are the sources of inspiration for all women and humankind. She has proven that continuous efforts towards achieving the goals are the only formula for success.