KATHMANDU, Aug 20: Women empowerment comes from educating women, giving them the right to make their own decisions, treating them as equals, and encouraging financial independence. Are our Nepali women getting their fair share of encouragement?
We’ve been seeing an influx of beauty queens, winners of many beauty pageants in the country. They are educated and appear confident. Are beauty pageants taking women on the path to empowerment?
Moin Uddin, 22, a student of Bachelor’s in Business Studies at Nepal Commerce Campus, says, “I think beauty pageants help to improve the self-confidence and help to boost the morale of the contestants. They also groom ladies to be the best they can be. Empowerment comes with the knowledge they get regarding various things, and if the knowledge is used then of course it helps them to be empowered.”
However, Ashutosh Ashanwit has a differing opinion. He shares on our Facebook page, “Real beauty is not about showing your outfits and makeup. It’s about living and being happy for the nation. These mushrooming competitions are only places to be humiliated, cheated and sought as toys.”
Bhupendra Sharma, studying in Xavier International, states, “I think in Nepal these pageants are alright if the women wear their cultural dresses to promote their culture and don’t soak in the flavor if Western culture and forget their nationality. Of course, it boosts their confidence but the role of such models is ineffective in women’s empowerment.”
Going by the name of Mariya Newa-Maicha, one of our readers says on our Facebook page, “I’m a proud contestant of a beauty pageant but honestly I didn’t find much difference in myself before and after the pageant. So I think rather than a lot of money-motivated beauty pageants mushrooming, we should have a few but respected programs that really judge the contestants on abilities and talents alone.”
We should listen to a past contestant. Are the organizers listening?