In Soru Rural Municipality of Mugu district, women have multiple responsibilities. Most of the village men have gone to the proverbial ‘Kala Pahad’ (India) or other countries in search of jobs. So women here have to handle not just their families but other traditionally ‘male’ responsibilities as well.
Take construction. Women are working as construction workers in a number of local projects like the 1,100-meter irrigation canal from Majhgatta to Ekal Katiya of Soru-9, and another 1,100-meter canal from Bhuwane Khola to Naidhunga of Khatyang-2. Of the 484 laborers in the two projects, 330 are women.
“Men are out of the country. Even if they return, they won’t work as construction laborers,” says Gorikala Kami of Soru-9. “Development projects in the village are mostly in the hands of women these days.”
“This kind of out-of-home work gives us a unique outlet,” says Kami. “It pays as well.” The project office pays them through a bank, so women now have their own bank accounts. It helps them save money, and keeps them from being cheated by contractors, as happened when they used to get their wages in cash. The World Food Program is funding both the projects.
“As male members are away, many development projects in the village are unfinished,” says Ramdevi Yogi of Soru-9. “We women will finish what they started”.