Sharmila Thapa

Sharmila Thalpa is a feminist advocate from Nepal. As a young woman, Sharmila had a child, but following the breakdown of her marriage due to domestic violence, she struggled to achieve the maternal transfer of citizenship for her and her child.

After being unable to attain legal help and support for her son, she was forced to return to her family. Here, Sharmila experienced inter-family violence due to the stigma surrounding unmarried mothers. Nepal itself has committed to addressing gender discrimination, however, due to lack of resources and support, as found by Sharmila, in practice, gender-based violence is still rife.

It was then that Sharmila decided to set up the Samida Women’s Development Forum in 2011; an non-profit organisation that aids single women and mothers to become informed of their rights, and empowered and supported economically, politically and socially. She advocates for further developments to take place in-government with legislative changes for those in experiencing violence, in poverty and with limited education.

Previously, Sharmila was the Senior Advisor at Aastha Foundation. Sharmila continues as the Founder and President of SWDF, and has been the Goodwill Ambassador at the World Health Innovation Summit since 2017.