With the majestic Himalayas as a backdrop, Nepal offers a breathtaking beauty and unique cultural mystique. With about thirty-six different ethnic groups and multiple religions and languages, the multi-dimensional cultural heritage of Nepal has evolved over the centuries, and it encompasses the diversities of its ethnic, tribal, and social groups, greatly influenced an assemblage of music, architecture, religion and literature. While vastly rich in culture, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, with 25% of its 28 million people living below the poverty line, placing it 157th out of 187 countries listed in the Human Development Report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Nepal is going through a complex political situation after the decade-long Maoist insurgency, which has taken a toll of about 13,000 lives, and hampered the delivery of basic services, restricted development assistance, and caused a breakdown of family and community networks. Often, poor families are often obliged to send their children to work rather than to school, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.
In Nepal, there is a wide gap between women and men in terms of access to health care, nutrition, education and participation in decision-making. Illiteracy is more prevalent among women than men, and many rural women live in extreme poverty, without any means of improving conditions for themselves and their families. Furthermore, women continue to face violence in various forms, such as rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence; and discriminatory attitudes regarding gender roles remain deeply entrenched in the Nepalese society. These factors, among other, place Nepal 123rd out of 135 countries in Global Gender Gap.