Nepal: Binda Pandey

Labor activist and educator Binda Pandey has brought many women into Nepal's active trade union movement, and is sticking her neck out for the restoration of democracy in Nepal.

— Binda Pandey

Binda Pandey (born 1966) has been involved in Nepal's trade union movement for the past 15 years as an activist and educator. She is a leader of the iron and chemical workers' unions, and the driving force behind most publications brought out by Gefont, one of the largest confederations of Nepalese trade unions. Responsible for many women joining trade unions and fighting for their rights, she currently plays an active role in the movement for the restoration of democracy in Nepal.

Binda was born into a rural farming family in Nuwakot, a hill district. Growing up in a conservative milieu, she charted her own path by acquiring a Masters in science and gender development, and then by going unionist. Her choices encouraged other young women to join the movement. During the 1990 pro-democracy movement, Binda played a critical coordinating role. Binda is at the forefront of the fight to restore democracy to Nepal. This firebrand trade union leader was arrested and released three times in 2004 alone for campaigning for democracy. Since February 2005, she has been on a government watchlist, and is prohibited from leaving Kathmandu valley. Binda is a leader of major iron and chemical workers' unions in Nepal. Since May 2004, she has been deputy secretary general of Gefont, a confederation of Nepali trade unions. She was a central secretariat member and chief of its department of education from 2001 to 2004, and secretary of its department of foreign affairs from 1997 to 2000. From 1993 to 2000, she was secretary of its central women workers' department. Binda, who is close to the international trade union movement, is presidium member of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mines and General Workers' Unions (Icem). It is a forum she uses to condemn emphatically the crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Nepal. From 1994 to 1997, Binda worked as program coordinator for the Committee for Asian Women-Regional Labor, a Hong-Kong-based NGO, and was an executive committee member from 1997 to 2000. She also served on the Nepal government's National Women's Commission from March 2001 to 2003.

General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (Gefont) International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mines and General Workers' Unions (Icem)