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Meena Acharya

Meena Acharya

General Secretary, Tanka Prasad Acharya Memorial Foundation; Consultant, UNIFEM/SAARC Gender Database; Consultant, EU/UNIFEM/ILO Aid Effectiveness and Gender Equality Program

Home Country: Nepal
IDRC Support Received: Research Fellowship, Nepal Rastra Bank (1976)

Researcher, economist, and gender activist Meena Acharya is committed to improving the lives of Nepalese women.

Acharya had already earned post-graduate degrees in development studies and economics, and worked at Nepal’s Rastra Bank for 10 years when she applied for and received support from IDRC in 1976.

Her IDRC research fellowship allowed her to study the impact of economic policies on rural employment in Nepal – her research was one of only a few labour market studies focused on the country.

Acharya says this study “increased her awareness of Nepalese realities” and encouraged her to better understand how economic policies affect people’s lives.

She became particularly fascinated by how economic globalization both empowered and disempowered Nepalese women. For example, women in Nepal were encouraged to integrate into the global system, but minimal schooling gave them “little voice and prospects for improving their life options,” says Acharya.

She began to research how policies can improve the lives of Nepal’s women, and led studies for organizations such as UNIFEM, UNICEF, and the World Bank.

Acharya says she is especially proud of her efforts to improve women’s visibility in economic statistics – Nepal has been an international model of how to reform statistics to better show the economic contributions of women.

“The poor, the dispossessed, and women suffer most in any crisis. Since we have to use the market as a mechanism for growth, we have to make this growth for all, including women,” says Acharya.

She continues to work as a consultant and is also a resource person in the Women’s Studies Department at Padma Kanya Multiple College.

Acharya is also the General Secretary of the Tanka Prasad Acharya Memorial Foundation, a non-governmental organization she helped establish. Through research and advocacy, it aims to contribute to Nepal’s democratic processes on issues of national importance.

Since its creation in 1992, the foundation has published material on equal citizenship rights for women, analyzed Nepal’s census from a gender perspective, and promoted quality education for girls and disadvantaged groups.​

Latest Results

A smartphone application developed with IDRC support is helping primary animal health workers (PAHWs) in Laos PDR to quickly and accurately answer questions and treat poultry. The app is also helping farmers raise healthier animals and improve their...
Using smartphones to improve animal health and food securityCharting the future of Canada's humanitarian responseExamining the links between livestock ownership, gender, and food securityParticipating in markets can help improve women’s welfareMainstreaming gender issues in livestock research

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From refugee camps in Jordan and Sudan, to natural disasters in Haiti and Pakistan, to famines from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa, conflicts and natural disasters occurring in the last several decades have pushed the global humanitarian system to...
Using smartphones to improve animal health and food security Charting the future of Canada's humanitarian responseExamining the links between livestock ownership, gender, and food securityParticipating in markets can help improve women’s welfareMainstreaming gender issues in livestock research

Latest Results

Livestock ownership plays a vital role in ensuring that households have a more diversified, higher-protein diet. But research has shown that the extent to which livestock contributes to food security depends on household dynamics — whether women own...
Using smartphones to improve animal health and food securityCharting the future of Canada's humanitarian response Examining the links between livestock ownership, gender, and food securityParticipating in markets can help improve women’s welfareMainstreaming gender issues in livestock research

Latest Results

Women's participation in livestock markets can help improve their welfare and that of their families. Understanding how and why women participate can help identify ways of increasing their participation and the benefits. Research on this issue...
Using smartphones to improve animal health and food securityCharting the future of Canada's humanitarian responseExamining the links between livestock ownership, gender, and food security Participating in markets can help improve women’s welfareMainstreaming gender issues in livestock research

Latest Results

While women make up more than 40% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, they control less land than men and are less likely to use purchased inputs such as fertilizers. They also participate less in agricultural markets as a...
Using smartphones to improve animal health and food securityCharting the future of Canada's humanitarian responseExamining the links between livestock ownership, gender, and food securityParticipating in markets can help improve women’s welfare Mainstreaming gender issues in livestock research
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IDRC funds researchers in the developing world so they can build healthier, more prosperous societies
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