Nepal Welcomes First Female President
by Prathusha Yeruva
This week, Nepal’s parliament elected its first female president. Bidhya Devi Bhandari is the second person to have had the opportunity to hold this position since Nepal abolished its monarchy in 2008. Bhandari served as Defense Minister of Nepal from 2009-2011 and is currently the Deputy Leader of the Communist Party of Nepal. In Nepal, the president’s powers are mostly ceremonial as the Constitution vests all influence in the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. Although Bhandari doesn’t have significant political power, she was able to help pass Article 63 (5) , which ensures that women constitute 33% of candidates running for the proportional representation system. Electing a female president is definitely a step in the right direction for Nepal because it gives Nepali women a larger representation in government and sends the message that one day young girls may be able to hold the Nepali office like Bhandari as well.
Nepal hasn’t been the only country to elect women as high ranked government officers. Pratibha Patil served as the President of India from 2007-2012. Other individuals include Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller from Jamaica, President Park Geun-hye of South Korea, and Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway. These women have provided representation to the women in their countries and done their best to fight for gender equality in their respective nations. They have also opened more doors for young girls and are proving to them that they can do whatever they set their minds to. We wish President Bhandari the best of luck in Nepal!
Prathusha Yeruva hails from the Great Lake state and is currently a sophomore at Troy Athens High School. She has an interest in biology and journalism, as well as in female empowerment. She founded a She's the First chapter at her high school (an organization that sponsors girls' education in the developing world), and that opportunity has definitely given her a more developed lens on women's issues globally.