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Unmasking Economic Threads in Thapa's 'Women Have No Nationality’

Manjushree Thapa's essay, "Women have No Nationality," is a thought-provoking essay that emphasizes how marginalized women are in many societies, where they are denied basic rights because of discriminatory laws and cultural norms. Thapa investigates how ethnicity, language, and religion are used to create and preserve national identity. She contends that because it frequently excludes women and downplays their contributions to society, this structure is fundamentally patriarchal. Thapa also talks about how globalization affects gender relations, pointing out that while it gives women the chance to question established gender norms, it also breeds new kinds of inequity. In the end, Thapa argues that a more inclusive understanding of national identity is required, one that recognizes the diversity of its citizens, regardless of their socioeconomic status and gender. Women have no Nationality by Manjushree Thapa reflects extensively on the economic inequalities in Nepal and the adverse effects of it on women. The author also talks about the existing policies of Nepal and the constitution that does not support women or consider them as skillful as males. As the title itself suggests the atrocities, we will now have a look at the surrounding factors and why Manjushree Thapa burned the constitution of Nepal and got Canadian citizenship instead.

If you read the essay closely, you would notice that it is divided into three constitutions that Thapa had witnessed in her life. The first constitution that she grasped was when she was in her early teens. The key point and the most unacceptable policy of this constitution were that it assigned punishment for rape according to whether the victim was a virgin, married, or a prostitute. Inheriting parental property has always been a topic of huge conflict in Nepal as the constitution does not allow the same. Thus, making sure there is little to no less representation of women. There is also a shocking meagreness of affirmative action as per the implemented policies. When the new constitution was about to be implemented in 2015, a formidable team coalesced around lawyers such as Sapana Pradhan Malla and Deepti Pratibha Gurung along with a lot of non-governmental organizations initiated feminist movement, hoping it would make the government reconsider the biased policies. The group of activists and civic-minded individuals addressed rallies and amplifies their voices as much as they could, educated as many women about the deeply ingrained patriarchy, and much more. This new constitution was scheduled to be voted on September 16, 2015, by the constituent assembly, so did happen. Once again, the Hindu patriarchal authorities ignored the feminist movement and backed their policies with a straight argument, “It is not about women, it is about the open border with India.” In regard to this argument, a new policy was also added that said, ‘The children of Nepali women and Foreign men will be barred from high office.’ Hence, treating women like mere vessels, possibly traitorous, able to host foreign interruptions.

Looking broadly, citizenship in Nepal has always been passed on to children primarily through men, not women. A woman’s role is only to produce babies. As Thapa quotes, “Very being as a Nepali woman is constructed out of hatred of women.”

Now, you may think of the citizenship right as something very trivial, let us explore the remnants and effects of unequal citizenship rights. No citizenship is equivalent to no recourse to government services, making the people with no citizenship intensely vulnerable.

Some economic implications throughout the essay.

Depending on the unique environment and how it is implemented, globalization can have both beneficial and bad effects on gender relations. Here are a few ways that gender relations may be impacted by globalization:

Employment: By giving women access to new professions and sectors, globalization might improve their economic prospects in various parts of the world. However, it can also result in exploitation and unfavourable working circumstances, especially in industries like textiles where women are frequently hired for low-wage, low-skill jobs which is quite a very common sight in Nepal. When the work conditions are not favourable, there is a higher chance of women not opting for the jobs and hence it results in no contribution to the GDP. There is a reason why feminists say that household chores are unpaid labour.

Education: As new technology and online learning platforms become more accessible, globalization can help women have better access to education. It may also result in social pressures to uphold traditional gender norms, which may impede women's access to opportunities and education.

Migration: Globalisation may open new doors for women to move and work overseas, perhaps enhancing their social and economic mobility. For low-skilled or illegal workers, it can also result in exploitation and abuse. In the context of this essay, women who can also result in exploitation and abuse. In the context of this essay, women who have no citizenship cannot even think of going somewhere else in order to find work, leaving them in a constant state of despair and exploitation. As Manjushree Thapa quoted, “Being a Nepali woman is akin to being in an abusive relationship.” Here, the relationship is with a state that holds the paperwork captive and uses its power to humiliate, demean, and demoralize women to keep them down.

Cultural norms: By exposing people to new ideas and values from around the world, globalization can disrupt established gender roles and cultural norms in some nations. As a result, the variety of gender expressions and experiences may be constrained. It can also serve to reinforce gender stereotypes and result in the standardization of cultural identities. Globalization has a complicated and multidimensional effect on gender relations overall. Recognizing the potential risks and advantages of globalization is crucial, as is working to develop laws and customs that support gender equality and female empowerment. As much as globalization has helped us moving forward, sometimes it do the exact opposite too.

The world has witnessed an enormous economic transformation over the past three decades, fostered by increasing global flows of goods and services, technology, and information. These changes have transformed the way domestic and global markets and institutions function, and have thus changed the economic landscape for individuals, households, firms, and governments (World Development Report, 2012).

How has Globalization helped?

Globalization has brought increased access to economic opportunities. Trade openness and the spread of information and communication technologies (ICTs) have increased women’s access to economic opportunities and in some cases increased their wages relative to men’s. Growth in export and ICT-enabled sectors, together with a decline in the importance of physical strength and a rise in the importance of cognitive skills, has increased the demand for female labor. ICT has also increased access to markets among female farmers and entrepreneurs by easing time and mobility constraints (World Bank, 2011).

However, the incentives for working towards greater gender equality are strengthened by a number of aspects of a more globalized world:

In an interconnected world, gender disparity is more expensive since it makes a nation less competitive abroad, especially if it specializes in products and services that appeal to women.


Additionally, more nations than ever have ratified anti-discrimination treaties as a result of international peer pressure. Multinational corporations have been driven towards fairer compensation and better working conditions for women by growing media exposure and consumer demands for better treatment of workers. Gender roles and norms are changing as a result of globalisation:

The ability for nations to learn about social mores in other countries is made possible by increased access to information, primarily through television and the Internet. This can alter perceptions and encourage the adoption of more egalitarian attitudes.

By encouraging shifts in gender roles and enabling women to control time management, shift relative power within the household, and exercise agency more broadly, economic empowerment for women strengthens this process.

Summing up, greater gender equality could be a result of globalization. Globalization alone, however, will not be able to eliminate gender inequality in the absence of public policies. Large gender inequalities still exist in some fields despite major gains in women's agency and access to economic opportunities in many nations. To reduce gender inequities in endowments, agency, and access to economic opportunities, public intervention is required. Only then will nations be able to take use of globalization's promise as a driving force for greater gender equality?

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