By Jamal Shahid
ISLAMABAD: They say that educated women can raise a developed nation. But the sad reality is that obstacles, many deeply rooted in our society, remain there to block women’s full participation in most of the fields, particularly in the government.
Yet again, educated women seemed to have been “unfairlyÂ” dealt with during the recent Central Superior Service (CSS) examinations.
Some of the girls, who excelled in the 2008 exams, believed that women representation in the CSS appointments were grossly disfigured in the male to female ratio. Out of the 4,247 who appeared in the CSS examinations, only 157 females qualified and passed the exam.
“Of these 157, only 57 have been selected for civil service,” said one candidate who cleared both written exam and the interview but was still not allocated a position in the government.
A record number of 445 vacancies were conveyed to the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC). But the commission did not allocate 88 vacancies due to “non-availability of suitable candidates.”
According to a CSS instructor with a private academy, “This appears to be the highest of injustice because both vacancies and qualified candidates, especially girls are available. Boys securing positions in the 600s (rankings) have been appointed to the best groups. But girls securing positions in the 200s and 300s have been left out.”
The instructor, a CSS officer himself, also pointed out provincial disparities, where lowest of the lowest scoring Sindhi candidates were allocated good groups.
A female candidate with a bright record throughout her academic career was also refused an opportunity to serve her country as a civil servant despite passing the CSS examination.
She said: “So much so, PM (prime minister) of Pakistan was generous enough to allocate 28 extra seats to the Balochs in addition to their quota. Why can’t the PM extend the same generosity to the bright female candidates, who make up 50 per cent of the country’s population but yet denied due representation”?
“If they do not find us suitable then what exactly are they looking for? How do they find boys from Sindh, Balochistan, NWFP and AJK with such low positions (on the rankings) to be more suitable than us for the best of groups,” questioned another candidate.
According to an official in the Cabinet Division, “This is one country and specially the present government, which boasts of having one of the best female leaders of the world. It gives hope that women can also enter the mainstream and make a difference. But such unjust results disappoint and discourage women to make headways, and spread the impression that these exams are not as transparent as they are meant to be.”
Female candidates believed that if anything, women should be given extra attention since they made up 50 per cent of the population — the current statistics of the world demanded this. In every field of the world the need to promote women had become more and more obvious so why not in the civil service of Pakistan.
Getting answers out of FPSC was an arduous task. No senior official cooperated “to preserve the sanctity of the only credible department in the country.”
Nonetheless, one senior official summed it up by saying: “88 seats have been left empty. There just weren’t enough suitable candidates.”