The International Women's Year (1975) and the United Nations Decade for Women (1976-85) created a wave of activity for bringing women in the development mainstream worldwide. In Mexico City the International Women's Year was marked by holding the World Conference on Women. In New York the 1979 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was adopted.

New developments took place in Kathmandu, too. A series of the status of women in Nepal studies were carried out throughout 1779-81. The policy to promote women's participation in development appeared for the first time in the Sixth National Plan (1980-85) of the country.

The Department of Women and Children also owes its origin to those days of exciting initiation. In 1981, a section with a staff of eight was created under the then Ministry of Panchayat and Local Development to run what was to be known as the Women's Development Programme.

Soon after its setting up, the Women Development Section moved to implement activities in the field. District after district were covered and the Section established its own field sections to enable extension. By fiscal 2000/2001, there were offices in all 75 districts

In the meantime, in 1990, the Women Development Section was elevated to the level of a division – the Women Development Division.  The Division was placed under the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare in 1999 and reorganized as a department afterwards.

The Department of Women Development was established on 10 June 2000. The final change of name took place on 28 September 2010. District units were initially called Women Development Sections and, after 8 April 2004, Women Development Offices. Since 28 September 2010, their name has also been changed to 'Women and Children Office'.