Today’s Dalit History post is a reminder that Dalits are not limited to India. Dalit’s in fact are found all over South Asia and their experiences of caste discrimination are hidden within the larger histories of our countries. In that spirit we share the trailblazing work of the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO) which was founded in 1994 by a group of courageous and conscious Dalit women working for Dalit women’s rights and their empowerment in Nepal. With the lives of over 3.3 million Dalits in the balance, FEDO’’s target is Dalit women stating, “ Dalits make up 13-20% of the total population of Nepal and Dalit women who make up half of that have been socially humiliated, devoid of economic access, deprived of education and are without political representation for generations. Therefore, Dalit women continue to be exploited by the traditional feudalistic state. Realizing these facts, we appeal that during the restructuring of the state, representation of Dalit women be guaranteed in all bodies of the state, for social justice, to guarantee the rights of women, for ending impunity and for proportional representation of Dalit women in the state structure. We also declare that our struggle will continue until our demands are met.” FEDO is led by its founder President Durga Sob, who has been a life-long advocate for Dalit rights and co-chairs the Asia Dalit Rights Forum.
Since its inception, FEDO has been able to achieve significant impact by working in over 56 districts in Nepal with a network of over 50,000 Dalit women organized into 2000 Dalit women groups.
FEDO has also rigorously pressured the Government of Nepal to recognize Dalit issues as important issues whose solutions need to be incorporated in both policy and practice. This includes spearheading the lobbying and advocacy for the election of 25 Dalit women who were the first Dalit women to get elected to the Nepalese Constituent Assembly.
Read also – Dalit History Month – The Dalit Panthers
FEDO is currently pushing for the inclusion of fair rights and protections in the future Constitution of Nepal.