ISLAMABAD: Even as recruitment of women through the federal public service commission has jumped by five times, only one in four women currently participate in the labour force, meaning that there is a vast talent which is unutilised.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) jointly released a study of women’s representation and access to decision-making roles in the civil service at a launch event on Friday.
The case study launch event was attended by the UN Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne, UNDP Deputy Country Director Naoko Takasu UN Women Country Representative Jamshed Kazi, Chair of the National Commission on the Status of Women Khawar Mumtaz, Director Programmes Federal Judicial Academy Huma Chughtai and Director Bureau of Statistics Rabia Awan and featured a panel discussion on “Addressing Impediments to promote Gender Equality in Public Administration”.
“Enhancing women’s role in leadership and decision-making will have an immense impact on gender equality and on Pakistan’s successful achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said UNDP Pakistan Deputy Country Director, Naoko Takasu.
“In taking forward the Beijing Platform of Action, Pakistan is committed to achieving 30 per cent representation of women in leadership positions. This case study shows that to achieve meaningful representation of women at all levels of decision-making requires concentrated action that acknowledges and addresses the barriers they face,” said UN Women Country Representative Jamshed Kazi.
The case study commended that women’s labour force participation in Pakistan has increased by 50 per cent in the past 15 years.
As one of the largest wage employers in the country, the public sector is an important entry point for women.
According to the UNDP’s Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) 2017 report, “the total strength (all grades 1–22) of the federal government in 2013–14 was 444,521 out of which 20,428 (4.6 per cent) were women. However, 182,846 of these federal government employees were reported to be Civil Armed Forces (CAF) personnel under the Ministry of Interior.”
The report also states, “While there is a case and valid debate for the inclusion of women in CAF, it is important to acknowledge that when CAF is not counted, women account for 7.6 per cent of the federal government.”
The report further indicates prevailing societal attitudes of determining women’s choice of careers with women’s participation in the public administration being confined to the sectors deemed “soft”, namely the health and education sectors.
From 2013–14, women employees (35.63 per cent) accounted the total number of Federal government employees. Federal government’s capital administration and development division department is mostly responsible for hiring teachers and medical staff within the capital territory.
Similarly, the case study points out to the fact that around 28.5 per cent of all entry-level officers serving in the public administration sector are women. In the overall Civil Superior Services (CSS) examinations for 2015, out of 238 candidates recommended for postings, 106 were women.
The recommendations of the study will support the government and its partners to develop evidence-based programming to address barriers to gender equality in public administration.
With additional input from News Desk