Face with courage

Despite a progressive legal provision in place for quite sometime in the country ensuring 20 per cent reservation for women and 10 per cent for women from indigenous communities in the Public Service Commission (PSC), it is said that women have not been able to benefit from it due to lack of ‘relevant guidelines’ for the implementation of the law. Statistics reveal women’s appointment in the PSC has gone up only by 15 per cent in the last two years. In 2003-04, out of 1,500 total applicants recommended for appointment in the public service, 154 were women whereas in 2004-05, total number of women recommended for appointment was 273 out of 1,483 applicants. Such a low turnout has serious implications for women empowerment efforts both at the public and private sector levels. Low female participation in the PSC exams invariably means weak female representation at the higher echelons of decision-making. This is unfortunate for the womenfolk, who actually need more opportunities in the civil service to have their voice heard and their position in the society strengthened.

No doubt then, there is a special need to give preference to female candidates during recruitment not only in the PSC but also in all other sectors. It is the duty of the state to help women fight the social stigma attached to work culture. However, it is also up to the women themselves to realise the importance of coming out of their homes and overcoming the societal pressures. It is a fact that even the educated-ones seldom come forward to resist the social pressures and join the mainstream. The 33 per cent women literacy rate in a backward country like Nepal should speak for itself. Given their slow response and unwillingness to face challenges, it can easily be said that Nepali women have suffered not only because of lack of opportunity or male domination, but also due to their self-imposed restrictions. It is high time at least the educated ones came forward and bravely faced the competitions like in the PSC or other such tests.