Sagoon (she/her) is a proud feminist from Nepal. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from National College, Kathmandu University in 2022. Since then, she has been working as a researcher and recently led a research project on "Nominations and Electability: The Role of Gender Norms in Nepal's Local Elections". Sagoon is passionate about feminist leadership and is the board president at Women LEAD Nepal. In addition, she is an advisor to the Asia and Pacific Advisory Committee of FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund and hopes to continue contributing to the advancement of the feminist movement in the global south. Sagoon will soon be attending the University of Oxford as an
Oxford-Weidenfeld Hoffmann Scholar and will be pursuing an MSc in Comparative Social Policy.

“I grew up with easy access to all my needs. Though challenging, my parents still ensured I received a quality education and beyond. But the moment I walked out of my privilege bubble and glanced at life outside, I noticed how not everyone has had it the same. Such experiences from an early age shaped me to acknowledge my privileges, carry humility, and contribute with the use of my accesses to the making of a more equitable society. 

Looking back, I realize how I grew to become a feminist leader without even knowing the term itself. The unaddressed reality that women around me faced triggered me and made me wish it was different. I knew things were wrong, and I was certain I would not want to live that way and have others face it.

I remain the most passionate about the leadership of women and girls, which can be fostered through education. Likewise, my feminism will have its triumph when we can understand that the denial of basic rights is a core feminist issue and utilize innovative approaches alongside policy changes to tackle social problems.”

I have been the youngest person in many spaces over the years. I have often been undermined for my potential because of my age and gender. While it does make one feel bad, such situations have demanded me to learn to be assertive. 

Even worse has been when the work you do is undervalued by people who do not understand the need for feminism or choose not to educate themselves. I have navigated my way through by standing strong to my values and the causes I work for.

Overcoming such challenges starts with being aware of your potential, continuously working to better yourself, and standing strong against anything that undermines you.”

Feminist activism has been crucial to socio-political transformations. The power of activism is undeniable and is how we can assert our rights. As young people, we can always use the medium of activism, which can be in various forms, to demand space and voice our concerns. It is important in activism to understand the significance of occupying spaces and learning when to lead and when to become an ally. The way ahead should ensure that our activism is intersectional and that we utilize creative and peaceful methods to set something that is exemplary.”

Women LEAD is a big part of my identity. It is a place that has shaped me to become the person I am today. From getting to initiate projects to participating in the CSW, Women LEAD made it possible for me to reach within and beyond the country. From an early age, the organization allowed me to explore my interests, enhance my networks, and work first-hand for the cause I care about.

I attribute so much of my growth to Women LEAD that it was vital to contribute to the organization’s growth. Hence, a sense of responsibility towards the organization and the community led me to become a Vice-Secretary and later the President of the Nepal Board. 

The community’s trust allowed me to hold a major governance position. The trust motivates me to keep doing more to advance the vision that Women LEAD carries.”

I was first introduced to feminism at Women LEAD, and since then, I have always introduced myself as a proud feminist. Women LEAD is where I have watched and also practiced feminist leadership and realized that I want to keep doing so for a lifetime. 

My interest in understanding politics and social phenomena grew after participating in YWPLC. This led me to pursue my undergraduate degree in Social Sciences. 

I have, over time, understood how crucial it is to nurture value-based leadership because of Women LEAD. Today, I have reached a point where I don’t compromise on my values, whether in personal or professional spaces.

I could keep going on and add how Women LEAD has influenced me. The main highlight will always be that Women LEAD gave me the space to know myself better and understand the pathway I wanted to create. No matter where I go, I will always feel grateful knowing that Women LEAD is where it all started.”

Finding people who might carry similar values as you or remain passionate about the same causes is difficult. Women LEAD is where you come and meet people with whom you feel connected and build deep relations. The soul of Women LEAD Nepal is the feminist community it has created over the years, which only continues to grow bigger and better. 

To my dearest Women LEAD community, thank you for being a part of a brave feminist space where we unite to fight for similar causes and advocate for what Women LEAD stands for. Your presence makes Women LEAD stronger, and your trust to advance young leadership makes the organization unique and revolutionary. I hope we continue being each other’s cheer and set an example of a transformation that a young feminist community can create.”

Politics is in and around us every day. We cannot afford not to be interested in politics because, at the end of the day, politics is what determines how we live our lives. 

Over the decades, we have witnessed our country undergo major political changes and will continue to. The country requires young people like us to show interest and partake in political literacy to fulfill our civic responsibility. At the same time, it is also our right as young women to have access to political spaces where we can voice our opinions and contribute to enhancing our democracy. 

YWPLC at Women LEAD is the ideal place to start, where you learn the basics of politics and feminist leadership. YWPLC’s approach will provide you with theoretical knowledge and ensure you receive hands-on experiences. 

Socio-political change is possible when we are aware of the reality and know how to tackle persisting issues, and YWLC is the course that will give you the knowledge and space to attain that awareness.”

Women LEAD is a big part of my identity. It is a place that has shaped me to become the person I am today. From getting to initiate projects to participating in the CSW, Women LEAD made it possible for me to reach within and beyond the country. The organization provided me opportunities from an early age to explore my interests, enhance my networks, and work first-hand for the cause I care about.
Sagoon Bhetwal
2018 YWPLC Fellow

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