The promotion of women leadership and general female public life can be said to be the key to unlocking transformation in economic development. This, in essence, stresses the need for gender balance is in all spheres of life.

Nepal appointed its first female president two years ago after the seven years leadership of Nepal’s first democratic president Ram Baran Yadav.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari is Nepal’s second president and first female head of state. She is also the commander in chief of Nepalese army appointed in October 2015.

At the time she came into office, she became the twenty-sixth female leader of the world to hold the highest position of a country’s government.

President Bhandari is the daughter of Ram Bahadur Pande and Mithila Pandey, born in June 1961 on the nineteenth in Mane Bhanjyang of Bhojpur, Nepal.

She is from a humble background, the eldest of her parent’s five children and completed her basic education from Behereshwor Primary School and secondary education from Bidyodaya Secondary School. She had her college education in Bhojpur and graduated from Mahendra Morang College of Biratnagar with Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

Started out from a very peasant childhood, she was consistent with political roles, having understood the challenges of Nepali politics which is a pain to the society as a result of the dominant autocratic Panchayat regime, after thoughtful observations President Bhandari concluded as a young girl that her country cannot experience socio-economic advancement without the embrace of democracy.

So she vowed to fight against the reign of Panchayat and was involved in the Left politics and in the democratic movement against the Panchayat.

Being involved in the movement against Panchayat regime launched her into a large degree of political involvement.

She began taking up political roles from her early age, during her college days in Bhojpur she was appointed as district representative for All Nepal National Free Students’ Union (ANNFSU) in 1978 and held the position for eight years.

In 1980 she became a member of the All Nepal Women’s Association (ANWA), the women’s wing of the party.

She raised a voice on political issues of the day, including the need for representative democracy from the grassroots to the national level. At the same time, she also raised her voice against discriminations faced by Nepal’s women, and she struggled for equal rights for women at every level.

In politics, she was seen as, a student leader, women rights activist and an integral member of her party’s fight for democracy.

After the death of her husband in a mysterious accident in 1991, she took up jobs that would help her to raise her children and continued her political activism against the end of the autocratic Panchayat regime alongside other political activists including Madan Bhandari her late husband and in 1990, democracy came into Nepal to stay.

Ten years after the death of her husband, the Sixth National Convention of Communist Party of Nepal (unified Marxist-Leninist) in 1999 elected President Bhandari as the member of the Central Committee, its highest policymaking body.

She took up her roles earnestly and effectively with significant activities and was elected Central Committee member again in the Seventh National Convention.

In 2009 she was made the Party Vice-Chair by the Eighth National Convention. She continued with her enormous activities and was voted by the delegates for Vice-Chair and member of the Standing Committee again in 2014.

President Bhandari also served as Minister for Environment and Population and Defense Minister, while occupying the position of the Defense Minister which made her the first female minister to hold such stereotyped post, President Bhandari geared the integration of former Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army, in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Accord, and to the drafting of the National Security Policy.

In 2015, she was elected as the President of the Republic of Nepal.

President Bhandari is the mother of two daughters whom she had for her late husband Madan Bhandari, a former Left leader of Nepal.


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