Nepali Campus (In)Action Against Sexual Harassment: Developing Policies and Mechanisms to Prevent Sexual Harassment in Nepali Higher Education Institutes

Final project
Year of publication:
Supervisors: Vinita Chandra


Despite sexual harassment being rampant in higher education institutes (HEI) of Nepal, there are no sexual harassment prevention policies or mechanisms in universities. The Government of Nepal formulated the Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention) Act 2014., but it is insufficient in the context of universities. Moreover, due to the lack of policies and mechanisms in place, decisions regarding complaints against sexual harassment are made by those in charge, men in most cases, on an ad-hoc basis. If we look at the structure of patriarchy in Nepal, we can see that men from privileged classes and castes hold the majority of power positions in institutes. Such structural hierarchy and inequality create a power imbalance – a root cause of harassment. In a patriarchal institute controlled by men, victims who are mostly women and individuals from marginalized communities fear their cases will be mishandled and so do not report.

As a solution, higher education institutes must draft a policy to prevent sexual harassment on campus and have a formal and informal complaint-handling mechanism. Because of the existing distrust of HEI to handle sexual harassment cases, a new approach that is victim-centric and ensures the safety and dignity of the victim are needed. In order to make it victim-centric and build trust in the system, an internal committee must be formed through an intersectional approach. The internal committee will have diverse members who can acknowledge their privilege and positionality and assess individual cases by understanding the identity and social reality of the victim. The internal committee will draft the policy and develop a complaint-handling mechanism.

The project will be strengthened by an internal advocacy series on campus to educate students and faculty about harassment and disseminate information regarding the policy and mechanism. The pilot project will be implemented at King's College, Nepal, a private college in Nepal. It will be led by the Office of Safe and Respectable Learning (OSRL), an independent department at King's College, Nepal, established to advance campus diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As a long-term strategic approach to bring a shift in campus culture and the mindsets of students and faculty regarding harassment and a safe campus climate, mandatory gender, equity and inclusion (GESI) sensitization and advocacy sessions will be conducted. This would be the first time a higher education institute in Nepal would actively take the lead in implementing such a project. The learning and experience will be shared with other higher education institutes in Nepal. This would create a safe space in education institutes where members can pursue their academic, professional, and social activities respectfully and dignity.