The Government of Nepal has recently stepped up efforts to integrate women within the state security apparatus. This Briefing Paper examines recent legislative and institutional changes governing female participation in the security sector, the latest recruitment and advancement trends, and the persistent challenges facing female security providers. It shows that while formal and institutional changes have enabled more women to become part of Nepal’s security sector, women remain under-represented therein, and face challenges including objections to positive discrimination, difficult trade-offs between professional careers and personal lives, and societal attitudes that see security provision as a male-only occupation.
- Since 2012, the number of women in state security forces has steadily increased, but remains relatively low, especially in higher-ranking positions. Women made up just over 8 per cent (5,467) of the Nepal Police (NP) and close to 4.5 per cent (4,094) of the Nepal Army (NA) in 2017, and around 5 per cent (1,837) of the Armed Police Force (APF) in 2014.
- Besides tackling crime and security as part of their formal mandate, female officers often act as role models, providing advice and guidance to women seeking to escape violence in their homes or communities.
- Legislative and policy changes introduced after 2013 have paved the way for more and more women to join the security forces, though barriers to meaningful participation remain.
- Working in the NP, APF, and NA brings women a range of not only opportunities but also daily challenges, ranging from continuing demands at home to discrimination from their families, society, and institutions.
To access the briefing paper, Women in State Security Provision in Nepal, kindly follow the link.