Agenda setting and framing of gender-based violence in Nepal: How it became a health issue
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHealth Policy and Planning. 2016, 31 (4), 493-503. 10.1093/heapol/czv091
Gender-based violence (GBV) has been addressed as a policy issue in Nepal since the mid 1990s, yet it was only in 2010 that Nepal developed a legal and policy framework to combat GBV. This article draws on the concepts of agenda setting and framing to analyse the historical processes by which GBV became legitimized as a health policy issue in Nepal and explored factors that facilitated and constrained the opening and closing of windows of opportunity. The results presented are based on a document analysis of the policy and regulatory framework around GBV in Nepal. A content analysis was undertaken. Agenda setting for GBV policies in Nepal evolved over many years and was characterized by the interplay of political context factors, actors and multiple frames. The way the issue was depicted at different times and by different actors played a key role in the delay in bringing health onto the policy agenda. Women's groups and less powerful Ministries developed gender equity and development frames, but it was only when the more powerful human rights frame was promoted by the country's new Constitution and the Office of the Prime Minister that legislation on GBV was achieved and a domestic violence bill was adopted, followed by a National Plan of Action. This eventually enabled the health frame to converge around the development of implementation policies that incorporated health service responses. Our explicit incorporation of framing within the Kindgon model has illustrated how important it is for understanding the emergence of policy issues, and the subsequent debates about their resolution. The framing of a policy problem by certain policy actors, affects the development of each of the three policy streams, and may facilitate or constrain their convergence. The concept of framing therefore lends an additional depth of understanding to the Kindgon agenda setting model.