A Conversation with Nepali Journalist, Women’s Rights Advocate Jaya Luintel

Alma Freeman – Asia Foundation News – Monday, 10 March 2014 (originally published 05 Mar)

Jaya Luintel
Image: Asia Foundation News

Ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, In Asia editor Alma Freeman interviewed Nepali radio journalist and women’s rights advocate, Jaya Luintel, on women’s changing role in politics and society in Nepal, the country’s wide gender gap, and hopes of democratic momentum. Luintel, who was recently selected as one of 10 inaugural 2014 Asia Foundation Development Fellows, is the founder of the organization, The Story Kitchen, and last month organized the first ever national-level conference of women radio producers and broadcasters in Nepal, as part of World Radio Day.

Your career as a journalist began with Radio Sagarmatha in 1999, when you started the radio’s first show on gender equality and women’s rights. What motivated you to start this show?

One morning in early 2002, during our editorial meeting, the station manager came to the newsroom and told us that Oxfam in Nepal was interested in supporting Radio Sagarmatha to produce a radio show on gender issues. He asked if anyone was interested in leading the production team, and I was the only one to raise my hand. I knew very little about gender issues or Oxfam’s work, but spent a great deal of time researching gender issues, and was heavily influence by the book “Half the World Half a Chance,” by Julia C. Moose. Together with Oxfam, we came up with the name for the program “Saha-Astittwa,” which means “co-existence” . . .

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