Kathmandu, June 24 :

Though the government stresses on women’s active participation at the policy level, a recent survey reveals the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MoEST) and its affiliated bodies have only 17 per cent representation of women. There are 571 women employees in the ministry and its affiliated institutions.

Women comprise 5.6 per cent at the officer level and 8.4 per cent at the non-officer level. There exists a gender gap of nearly 84 per cent between men and women in terms of representation, according to a report titled “Gender Assessments: Study and Gender Budget Audit of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MoEST) and Information Communication Technology (ICT)”.

The research jointly conducted by Mainstreaming Gender Equity and Programme (MGEP) and MoEST will be handed over to the MoEST on Sunday for implementation.

Ironically, the representation of women in the MoEST is better as compared to the national scenario that indicates a 10.8 per cent representation of women in the civil services.

MoEST coordinates with and governs three divisions, one department and seven-affiliated institutions.

Beside, 63 percent of the total budget Rs 826 million accounts for gender-neutral activities

and only 15 per cent is allocated for gender specific activities.

The report said though the Ministry has developed an IT policy that indicates women as a special focus area, women are given only traditional type of programmes which reinforce their stereotypical gender roles, such as computer training and tele-centre operators.

Training public service sector women employees (non-officers), development of women IT professionals, establishment of tele-centres with a policy for gender mainstreaming, and establishment of disaggregated data base of IT experts of Nepal are four major gender-related activities of the Ministry, so far.

The Alternative Energy Promotion Centre has attempted to include equal representation of women in all its activities through two major strategies, such as reduction

in the workload of women and their empowerment in order to participate in the decision-making process at all levels.

Amongst the eight institutions, RONAST has two women scientists of twenty-four academicians representing its Academic Assembly. It also has one woman in its Management Council. RONAST is providing regular financial support to the scientists’ group called “Women in Science and Technology”. Still, RONAST has a very low percentage of women in its decision-making body.

The National Forensic Science Laboratory has a woman executive director who also represents the Governing Council of the National Forensic Science Laboratory.

The Department of Hydrology and Meteorology made special efforts to hire 11 women on a contract basis for the weather forecast station at the airport. The high level commission for Information and Technology has made it policy to involve at least one woman member in the tele-centres run in rural areas with its support.

Aside from these three institutions, there is no representation of women in the governing council of the other six institutions.