Nepali Women of the Now: 3 More Women Who Inspire

By Kanchan Gautam

Somehow we have already made it into the second quarter of 2018, yet to me, 2017 still seems
like a few weeks ago. I am still reflecting back on 2017 and hoping 2018 is just as great of a year
for women as 2017 was. It seems like even though the Nepali Government banned Chaupadi, we
kept reading of the tragic deaths of young women’s death in these archaic menstrual huts. Nepal
also has yet to make amends to the constitution which discriminates women from conferring
citizenship to their children in the same capacity as men. Nepal still has a long way to go in
creating an equal footing for its female citizens to their male counterpart. This year I want to
focus on the positive and with that let’s turn this to someone women who made us proud to be
Nepalese Women. There were many Nepalese women who made headlines in various industries
nationally and globally last year. I hope this trend continues. Here are three women who have
made headlines in the recent years and continue to amaze us all with their positivity and

Photo credit: The Himalayan Times

Dawa Yangzum Sherpa
Dawa is the first female Sherpa and Asian woman to complete the rigorous course of International Federation of Mountain Guides (IFMGA). The IFMGA certification is a five-year process that many call the Ph.D. in mountaineering. Only 50 other Nepalese have completed this, of all who were all men until now. She has already climbed some of the world’s tallest peaks, including Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, K2, and Ama Dablam. She started leading treks in 2007 and has been inspiring young women climbers in Nepal and all over the world ever since.


Photo credit: Richard Bull

Mira Rai
I first came across Mira Rai through a post on Nepali Chorri and quickly found myself in awe of her story. She started as a child soldier for the Nepalese Maoist group and later found her way to Trail and Ultra Running. For those of you unfamiliar with ultra-running, anything past a Marathon (26.2 Miles or 42.16 Kilometers) is considered Ultra distance. However, typically Ultra Marathons tend to be 50 km or longer. Not only did Mira start with no formal training, she made her mark and won various ultras, sponsorships and was named the Adventurer of the Year in 2017 by National Geographic. It is refreshing to see a female athlete from Nepal rise to such prominence globally, since women in sports is not a big topic in Nepal.


Photo credit: Leslie Kirchoff

Arpana Rayamajhi
Arpana is a Jewelry designer and a social media Influencer from Nepal, who resides in New York City. She was featured in New York Times’ 30 Under 30 in 2016 and had her jewelry featured in the 2017 Victoria Secret Fashion Show. She has also been featured in various fashion editorials including Vogue and Glamour. Just as Mira is a trailblazer in athletics, I find Arpana to be one for Nepalese women in design and fashion. Not only does she have stunning one of a kind handcrafted jewels, she has also proved that trade skills e not a lost art and many people can make a career out of trade skills such a jewelry making and design.

*Who are your Nepali women role models? Please share!

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