Female electrician and community leader
In a profession traditionally reserved for men, Bipana emerged as a shining example of change and progress. As a female electrician, she has redefined the rules and flipped the switch on gender norms.
Bipana’s life took an unexpected turn, leading her from a dream of becoming a teacher to becoming a successful female electrician and community leader. Her story is one of resilience, determination and the transformative power of education and support.
Bipana was born in Pokhara, into a middle-class family facing financial challenges due to her father being the sole breadwinner, supporting 2 wives. To alleviate the financial burden, Bipana lived with her maternal uncle and attended a boarding school. However, after her first menstruation, she returned home and continued her education at a government school. Bipana’s desire for independence and her determination to contribute to her family’s financial stability were evident from a young age.
Bipana’s journey took an unexpected turn when the principal of her school informed her about an upcoming training programme for “building electricians” in the city. She enthusiastically joined the training, hoping to gain skills that would help with electrical work in her own home. This training proved to be a life-changing opportunity. It lasted 5 months, equipping Bipana with essential skills to handle various electrical tasks.
“Break the circuits of gender stereotypes in employment, and electrify your potential. It’s not about what the job should be for a woman or a man; it’s about what you’re capable of achieving. Be the spark of change in a world where equality should be the current standard, not the exception,” said Bipana.
During her electrician training, Bipana acquired essential skills, from ensuring safety when working with electricity to mastering wiring and understanding electrical systems. She also learned how to use electrical tools, navigate regulations, manage her own business, and solve problems. Effective communication with clients and a newfound sense of empowerment were integral to her journey, allowing her to excel in her field and as an entrepreneur while challenging gender stereotypes in employment.
Becoming a female electrician and entrepreneur
With additional support from the project, Bipana received capacity-building training to enhance her business skills. Armed with these newfound skills and materials, she opened her own electrical shop in her community. Nowadays, she serves a diverse clientele, offering electrical wiring and repair services, and her shop has been thriving, allowing her to meet her expenses and contribute to her household’s income.
Bipana’s journey to open an electrician shop in her community was nothing short of remarkable. It not only showcased her determination and skills but also challenged entrenched gender stereotypes. Her success was amplified by the support she received from both her family and her community.
As a woman entering the male-dominated field of electrical work, Bipana faced initial skepticism and resistance. However, her family’s support was unwavering. Her parents recognised her potential and encouraged her to pursue her passion, despite societal norms. This familial backing was instrumental in giving her the confidence to forge ahead.
In her community, Bipana’s arrival as a female electrician was met with curiosity and, in some cases, doubt. People were unaccustomed to seeing women in this role. However, Bipana’s dedication, professionalism, and top-notch electrical skills quickly earned the respect of her neighbours. Her ability to deliver reliable electrical services not only shattered gender stereotypes but also proved that competence transcends gender.
Moreover, Bipana’s entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to offer her expertise brought about a positive change in her community. Residents began to appreciate the value of having a skilled female electrician in their midst. Her shop not only provided a valuable service but also served as an inspiration to other young women who aspired to break free from traditional gender roles.
Bipana’s journey reflects not only her personal achievement but also the power of perseverance and community support in breaking gender stereotypes. She defied expectations, changed perceptions, and paved the way for other women to follow their dreams, regardless of societal constraints. Her story is a testament to the importance of challenging gender norms and pursuing one’s ambitions, even in unconventional career paths.
Community engagement and empowerment
Bipana’s journey didn’t end with her entrepreneurial success. With the support of Plan International Nepal, she and other women who received various training opportunities in areas such as electrician work, light vehicle driving, excavator driving, receptionist duties, beautician skills, and Montessori teaching came together to form a district-level alumni association. Within this group, Bipana was entrusted with the role of alumni secretary, where she is dedicated to empowering and training fellow women in her community to become self-employed. She also assists the unemployed in finding suitable employment and supports friends who have faced violence by encouraging them to become self-reliant.
Bipana proudly shared, “I run my own electrical shop, providing wiring and repair services for customers. I also serve as the secretary of a district-level alumni association with 740 members.”
“Young women, don’t wait for opportunities to knock on your door. Instead, opens the door to skills and knowledge. Equip yourself to be an entrepreneur, and you’ll discover the power to shape your destiny. The world needs your ideas, your innovation, and your leadership. Embrace your potential and build a future that you design,” added Bipana.
Bipana’s journey has transformed her from an aspiring teacher into a student, entrepreneur, female electrician, and staunch supporter of her family’s financial well-being. She is immensely grateful to Plan International Nepal, Right4Children, and Action for Development for guiding and changing her life in a profound way, opening new paths and opportunities that have reshaped her into a strong and independent woman.
About the project
Right4Children is implementing the Promoting Young Women in Employment in Pokhara project with funding and technical support from Plan International. The project aims to equip young women with marketable skills and help them to make the most of emerging job opportunities.
Right4Children is implementing the project in close coordination and collaboration with private-sector training providers. The project aims to train 800 young women like Bipana in marketable job skills, life skills, basic computer skills, and basic English language so they can find decent paid employment.