The Practice of Chhaupadi: The Link Between Local Cultural Understanding and Women’s Rights in Rural Nepal
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- Institutt for geografi 
This thesis explores how women’s lived experiences are shaped by traditional cultureand power structures, through examining the case of chhaupadi and its implications on women’s lives. The practice of chhaupadi is widespread in the far western region of Nepal, and it can be seen as a violation of women’s rights. This thesis argues that having a local cultural understanding is crucial for the adaptation of women’s rights in the local cultural context. In order to study the practice of chhaupadi the thesis relies on semi-structured interviews. The majority of informants were local women who are members of women’s groups, and whose lives are directly affected by the chhaupadi practice. Other informants included local government representatives and local politicians. The variety of informants was chosen in order to provide a holistic view of the chhaupadi practice and the structures upholding it. This thesis finds that the chhaupadi practice violates women’s rights because it limits their ability to live safe and healthy lives, and in some cases it deprives girls’ opportunities to attend school. Further, it identifies traditional culture and power structures like patriarchy as important determinants for the continuation of the practice. Last, it examines how individual women, women’s rights groups and the translators work to challenge the existing structures in the community, thus working towards improved conditions for women’s lived experiences. Through working for social change from within it is possible to achieve a better understanding and adaptation of women’s rights in the local communities, which eventually will lead to an improved situation for women’s rights.