The Cost of Representation: A Study of Women’s Representation and Political Finance in Nepal

Man stands on nine coins and woman stands on four coins
Publication Date: 
27 Jan 2020

Publication Type:

Author(s): 
Allison Cantrell and Dr. Magnus Ohman with Meena Bhatta

The full participation of women in political and decision-making processes as candidates and elected representatives is crucial to democratic development. Ongoing debates about political finance rarely consider the impact of money on women’s representation. Money is an essential and unavoidable part of elections but creates an additional barrier for women and other marginalized groups, given their limited access to and control of financial resources. In Nepal and many other countries, female candidates may need to raise more funds than their male counterparts to run competitively.

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) conducted a study of women’s political representation and political finance in Nepal’s House of Representatives elections in 2017. The study incorporated a literature review and interviews with 23 electoral stakeholders. It found that unequal access to funds for female candidates, reinforced by patriarchal attitudes of political stakeholders, adversely affects their political representation.

The Cost of Representation: A Study of Women’s Representation and Political Finance in Nepal then provides recommendations on how Parliament, the Election Commission of Nepal, political parties, the media, civil society and the international community can improve women’s meaningful representation in Nepali politics. IFES hopes the report sparks discussions on the critical need for reforms and capacity building ahead of the next general elections in Nepal in 2022.