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Women participation in civil administration increasing

By AKM Kamal Uddin Chowdhury

DHAKA, March 3, 2018 (BSS) - Like other woman officials, Mafruha Sultana, the secretary of the Rural Development and Cooperatives Division, was not allowed for the field-level job when she joined the civil administration service in 1986 due to lack of confidence of the high officials.

But, now the situation has been changed and women are performing well at all levels of the civil administration. Their participation in the civil administration has been increasing day by day and they are playing a vital role in discharging their duties in line with the rules and regulations to uphold the country's constitution.

"For lack of field level experiences, I had to face many problems when I performed as an upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) or deputy commissioner (DC)," Mafruha Sultana said while sharing her experiences with BSS recently.

But, she said, those problems have gone as the outlook of all towards the women has been changed significantly, and now female officials are performing as the field-level officials from the initial stage.

"Currently, women are coming in the civil administration service through hard competition. They work in all field level posts, including assistant commissioner of land," Mafruha said.

She expressed the hope that the participation of women in the civil administration would raise further, saying the newcomer of the service is playing a vital role through their honesty and hard work.

The senior bureaucrat said the situation has been changed as women empowerment in Bangladesh witnessed stunning progress over the last few years, especially during the tenure of the present government.

Talking to BSS, Munshiganj Deputy Commissioner Sayla Farjana said now the civil administration service for women in the field level is very comfortable than before and females are performing equally like their male colleagues as AC land, UNO or DC.

"I have already worked at the field level for 13 years. When I got the posting as an AC land, people could not properly accept me for the post. I had to prove myself through work. But my male colleagues did not face the same situation," she said.

Now, people have changed their mindset and the female officials can work with the support of the local people, she added.

Sayla Farjana also lauded the government for taking initiatives to make women-friendly civil administration service.

Like Mafruha and Sayla Farzana, many other women in civil administration gave credit to the present government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on women empowerment issue as her administration has taken many pragmatic and epoch-making steps for making the women-friendly administration service.

The number of female officials in the civil administration, especially at the field level, is increasing fast, giving a big boost to women empowerment.

At present, 1,276 women -- 22.42 per cent of the total 5,692 -- are working as Class-I Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) administration officers, said sources in the Public Administration Ministry. In last year, this figure was 20.57 per cent, the sources added.

Ten women are working in as many ministries and divisions as secretaries or secretary in charge-the topmost post in the civil administration.

The female secretaries are Women and Children Affairs Secretary Nasima Begum, Rural Development and Cooperatives Division Secretary Mafruha Sultana, Bangladesh Public Service Commission Secretary Aktari Mamtaz, Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority Managing Director (Secretary) Hosne Ara Begum, Planning Commission Member Zuena Aziz, Bangladesh Energy and Power Resident Council Chairman (Secretary) Shahin Ahamed Choudhury, Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Dr Nomita Halder, Secretary-in-Charge of the Ministry of Labour and Employment Afroza Khan, Academy for Planning and Development Director General Nasreen Akhter, and Member-in-Charge of the Planning Commission Shamima Nargis.

There are also 82 female additional secretaries, 99 woman joint secretaries, 306 female deputy secretaries, 394 woman senior assistant secretaries and 389 female assistant secretaries.

At least four female deputy secretaries are working as deputy commissioner, while 15 are working as additional deputy commissioner (ADC), 127 women are working as upazila nirbahi officer (UNO), and 134 assistant commissioner of land.