Children And Women in Nepal
Forty-two percent of the population in Nepal is under 18 years of age, making investments in children and adolescents especially important in shaping national development. Nepal has made remarkable progress in the last 40 years. In 1970, Nepal had the 12th highest Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in the world where 250 infants out of 1000 died before they turned one. By 2010, only 48 infants out of every 1000 born were dying and Nepal had moved ahead of 50 other countries to reduce IMR rates by one-fifth.
In the 70s, one out of every fourth child born every year died before their fifth birthday. By 2010, that statistic had been dramatically reduced and less than 34,000 children out of a total of 730,000 births nationwide, died before turning five. Also, no new case of polio has been detected since 2010 and Nepal is on track to be declared polio-free this year.
Only 1 out of every 4 school-aged children went to primary school then. Today, more than 90 percent of children (including girls) are enrolled in primary school. Also worth noting is that the country is on track to meet its Millennium Development Goals on drastically reducing under-5 and maternal mortality.
Nevertheless, Nepal ranks 157 out of 187 countries in the 2011 Human Development Index. Only seven out of ten children enrolled in grade 1 in Nepal’s schools reach grade 5, and more than half of them drop out of the school before reaching the lower secondary level. Approximately 620,000 children aged 5-17 are engaged in hazardous work while some 13,000 girls are being sexually exploited in Kathmandu. As many as one in every five Nepali women experience physical violence and one in 10 sexual violence. Nearly 1 in 10 adolescents aged 15-19 experience physical violence during pregnancy. Most often the violence is perpetrated by someone she knows, including by her husband or another male family member.
While overall poverty is decreasing, two thirds of the children are still deprived of at least one of seven basic needs. Inequity is especially evident in terms of geography, age, gender, ethnicity, language, education, HIV status, disability and income. Most of the children, adolescent and women being left out of Nepal’s progress are denied many of the same rights simultaneously. These deprivations diminish their potential to reach full capacity as adults, resulting in the transfer of the same deprivations to the next generation.
UNICEF's country programme in Nepal seeks to address the inequities so that all children, adolescents and women have access to education, health care, nutrition, sanitation, hygiene, safe water, protection, information and other services necessary to fulfill their rights to survival, development, protection and participation.