Woman Power - Actually on The Way???::By:Sonal Goel,IAS
India has always been recognised as democratic welfaristic state, aimed at promoting equity & balance. As far as woman is concerned, the efforts have been even more sounding, most of the government schemes being linked to woman welfare & empowerment.
The recent civil services examination 2014 result declared just few days back, which witnesses the history of 4 toppers amongst top 5 being women; definitely reinforces the credibility of woman of our country. Hon’ble Union Minister DOPT felicitated the toppers; also Union Minister Woman & Child Development felicitated the top ranker as symbol of woman empowerment. I just happened to read the examination notification issued by UPSC, which reads ‘’Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance and women candidates are encouraged to apply’’. It is no doubt a welcome step; but whether doing upto that extent is sufficient?; may be policy makers and implementers need to ponder.
The whole media is busy in celebrating the much deserved euphoria which the successful women toppers and their families are experiencing presently; but may be the road ahead will not be that rosy and cozy. Most civil services aspirants aim to do better for the society and contribute towards nation building, well recognizing to an extent the challenging conditions in which they may have to work; but the realization of systemic deficiencies come much later only after one starts working in field.
I felt very proud on seeing the ladies achieving remarkable feat in civil services examination; but also felt little concern for the officers and families. The parents and families joy must be incomparable to any other moment of their lives; but whether the much deserving parents/ families would be fortunate enough to get assistance of their ‘officer daughter/ wife’ when the family responsibilities need her?
Indian Constitution enshrines the philosophy of gender equality and All India Services Rules also provides relaxations for enabling women to discharge mandatory obligations which nature and society has chosen for her; however much remains discretionary to state cadre controlling authorities, maximum provisions being treated as ‘charity/ optional & not right/ entitlements’ across states in the country with slight plus and minuses.
Also many a times, success of an efficient woman officer is attached with wrong connotations. Recently a defamatory article written by ‘Outlook’ magazine regarding a senior lady IAS officer of Telangana Cadre degraded womanhood.
A strong moral character, emotional strength, courage, knowledge, sincerity, empathy and compassion are the inherent qualities enabling women officers to deliver best in all fields. What is required is a little more understanding and appreciation of her compulsions by her colleagues/ seniors.
While the participation of woman in bureaucracy and governance of polity & society augurs well for humanity, a lot still remains unthoughtful. Definitely there are many gentlemen in the system who recognize this and are contributing their part; still a large section needs to play an active role now if we really want woman to succeed in her professional career and contribute her actual to the society. Some balance and correcting the discriminatory attitude shall definitely encourage the officer concerned and bring change in the society in long run.
I am still optimistic and hope the system treats woman officers positively and respects their entitlements and help them flourish & shine in work and family; creating enabling environment for their best contribution to development of nation.
About the author: SONAL GOEL, IAS is 2008 Batch Officer(All India 13th Rank) .She has served in the state in the following capacity -Assistant Collector, West Tripura District, SDM Ambassa, OSD, ADM & Collector, South Tripura District, Chief Executive Officer, Agartala Municipal Council, Tripura, Joint Secretary, Labour Department Govt. of Tripura, State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Currently she is posted as the District Magistrate and Collector of Gomati District.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The article contains the views of the author in personal capacity, not in professional capacity.