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Nepal close to a new constitution, women's rights activists worried they won't be heard in the change

As the Nepal Constituent Assembly (CA) is set to agree upon a new constitution in coming weeks, women's rights groups feel their voices aren't being heard, IRIN reports.

Groups are concerned that issues they care deeply about won't be included in the new version, mainly because they haven't even seen the draft. The biggest issues women activists want to see on the new constitution is the ability to pass on citizenship to their children and own property independently. They also want 50 percent female representation in the government, the news outlet reports.

"We need a constitution in time and we need a women-friendly constitution," Bijaya Karishma, a programme officer for Sankalpa, a women's alliance campaigning for peace, justice and democracy, told IRIN. "We have the right to see a draft and are concerned that we have not."

In hopes of getting heard, many activists have been stationed outside the parliament for over three months.

Thus far the best option of getting their point across comes by way of women in the CA. Approximately 33 percent of the 601 person assembly are women so activists feel they will work to get women's rights into the constitution, though it's not certain what the outcome will actually be, according to the news outlet.

Many of the women nominated to represent have no political experience and little if any formal education.

"We have women who had spent their lives inside their kitchens," Saloni Singh, executive director of Didi Bahini, a women's empowerment organization told the news source. "Women who have never spoken Nepali are here. Women who could not read and write are here."

Humanitarian groups within the nation will continue to watch the CA's progress closely as a way to ensure women get the power they deserve.
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