As of 2015, Nepal has welcomed their first female President. Bidya Devi Bhandari, the wife of popular communist leader Madan Bhandari, took office last year taking Nepal’s communist movement to a new level. Bhandari is a native of the village of Bhojpur and prior to winning her position in office, she held the position of Defense Minister and as Vice Chair of the All Nepal Women Association. The 54-year-old is the second President of Nepal after Ram Baran Yadav once the country abolished the monarchy.
Even though the role is mainly ceremonial, it does mark a milestone in the country’s history. While she has been critiqued for support what some view as anti-women citizenship laws, Bhandari is also responsible for ensuring one-third quota for women in parliament. Bidya Devi was a leader in her movement to end the monarchy and bring about democracy in Nepal. In 2008, Nepal adopted its new constitution which divides the country into 7 provinces. This has sparked incidents of violence in areas where folks have been in disagreement of how the land of the provinces was allocated. There’s still work to be done but Bidya Devi is a prime example of the new direction for Nepal’s future government which until now had been mostly male leaders. To learn more about Bidya Devi Bhandari and the Office of Nepal’s President, click here.