Few women in govt posts, show records

Mudita Bajracharya

Kathmandu, June 25:

Though much has been talked about women’s empowerment in the country, their representation in the government service is very low compared to men. According to the Department of Civil Personnel Records, only one woman occupies a seat in the gazetted first class in the non-technical sector out of 179 seats. While in the technical section, three women occupy the post of gazetted first class out of 173 seats. There is an opposite relation between higher ranks and the number of women in the government service. In the gazetted second class, 63 seats are occupied by women out of 1,700, and 334 women occupy the gazetted third class out of 5,522 seats. Shyam Sundar Sharma, spokesperson for the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, said representation of women makes a difference in decision-making process. “Decision taken in consultation and participation of women makes it gender-balanced,” he said. “Lack of consultation with women while formulating policies regarding their rights has now led to difficulties in their implementation,” said Sharma. Bunu Shrestha, Planning Division director at the National Centre for Educational Development in Sanothimi, who holds more than three decades of experience in the government service, said presence of women at the decision-making level makes a huge difference.

“During my tenure as the District Education Officer in Jhapa, Dhankuta and Lalitpur, I implemented the decision to appoint at least one lady teacher in the schools in 1995, which was designed to encourage women’s participation,” Shrestha said. Bindra Hada, Joint Secretary at the Department of Commerce, is the only first class gazetted officer in the non-technical sector. She believes that women’s representation does not make much difference.

“Decisions made at this level are based on policies and law, hence whoever occupies the post will have to follow the rule,” said Hada. Different awareness programmes are being organised

to pull maximum number of women to the public service. Awareness programmes and trainings are being conducted for the Public Service Commission examination by Mainstreaming Gender Equity Programme — jointly supported by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and the UNDP. However, Indu Pant Ghimire, national programme manager of the MGEP, said since the government is about to amend the Civil Service Act through ordinance, serious consideration should be given to the national and international commitments made earlier.