Men dominate decision-making, whilst members of so-called “low castes” or Dalits and indigenous groups (Janajatis) have faced systematic discrimination in the past and still live with the effects – both material and psychological. The government recognises the need for affirmative action to address this situation; one example in this regard is the use of quotas for women’s and Dalit’s representation in last year’s local, state and national elections. The Box outlines the government provisions for promoting women’s and Dalit’s engagement in the trail bridge programme.


Over the period August 2016 to April 2017, a group of Helvetas staff, including the authors, conducted a small study funded by ReCAP (Research for Community Access Partnership) to investigate the extent to which the trail bridge programme contributes to transforming gender relations in Nepal. Being present or past members of TBSU, several members of the group have extensive knowledge of trail bridge construction.
The idea for the research was prompted by awareness that trail bridges are generally assumed to have an equally positive impact on men and women, although post-construction studies have indicated that this is an over-simplification.