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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.​

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External Program Reviews (2015) Think Tank converts knowledge into change in GhanaResearch calls for preventive approach to gender-based violence in SenegalHarnessing demographic change for economic growth in AfricaNganyi Community Resource Centre: Community radio station broadcasts weather forecasts, climate change news to farmers in Kenya

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Despite laws and a constitution that guarantees gender equality, women in Senegal still experience high rates of violence. Critics point to an ineffective legal system that doesn't focus on prevention, where police rarely intervene, and where few...
External Program Reviews (2015)Think Tank converts knowledge into change in Ghana Research calls for preventive approach to gender-based violence in SenegalHarnessing demographic change for economic growth in AfricaNganyi Community Resource Centre: Community radio station broadcasts weather forecasts, climate change news to farmers in Kenya

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The impact of demographic change on economic growth in Kenya and South Africa is the focus of two articles published in the 2014 Policy in Focus magazine. The two studies were conducted by the National Transfer Accounts (NTA) network, which IDRC has...
External Program Reviews (2015)Think Tank converts knowledge into change in GhanaResearch calls for preventive approach to gender-based violence in Senegal Harnessing demographic change for economic growth in AfricaNganyi Community Resource Centre: Community radio station broadcasts weather forecasts, climate change news to farmers in Kenya

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​To mark World Meteorological Day on March 23, 2015, the Kenya Meteorological Service (KMS) launched a resource centre and radio station in western Kenya to disseminate weather and climate information. In 2006, the IGAD Climate Prediction and...
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