According to Government records, there are 87, 753 civil servants across Nepal.
Interestingly, in FY 2017-18, 20,334 women held various government-office positions in Nepal, making it 23 percent of civil service jobs held by women.
Most Nepali women civil servants credited ‘seat reservation’ for encouraging them to consider civil services.
The amendment to Civil Service Act-1993 in 2007 brought about an increase in the number of women opting for civil service.
Moreover, reservation of 45 percent civil seats for women with seats for Nepal’s Dalit and Madhesi community, disabled people and people from backward areas motivated women to take Public Service Commission exams.
Following this trend, many younger Nepali women were inspired to apply for civil services. Consequently, the number of women applicants for civil services increased at such a high rate that the number of women applying outnumber the ratio of men.
According to the Nepal Public Service Commission’s (PSC) annual report, 296,704 women applied for civil service positions compared with 271,149 male applicants. This trend has been in place over the last decade, when the reservation came into existence.
“Men still outnumber women in the civil service, but I see more and more women inside Singha Durbar in the past few years,” said Amrita Niraula, Undersecretary, Federal Affairs & General Administration Ministry.
When Niraula joined the civil services in 2002, she used to be surrounded by male colleagues in the office. But over the last 16 years, Niraula witnessed a significant increase in the number of women entering government offices, especially Singha Durbar.
“When I entered civil services 16 years ago, there was no reservation, and we were not confident about whether we could pass the exam since there was fierce competition. Now, women are confident of securing civil service job with some extra effort,” added Niraula.
Job Security in Government Service
Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ministry Joint Secretary Nita Pokharel Aryal identifies ‘job security’ as one of the main factors that push women to apply for civil services.
“The private sector does not guarantee the kind of job security government offers,” she said.
The number of paid-time offs including maternity leave is another factor that most women consider. A comparison between private and the government sector shows that women are awarded more leaves in the later.
However, the number of women applicants for civil services continue to remain lower than men applicants.
According to PSC, it recommended 32 percent of women for civil service jobs after the examinations during the last fiscal. Out of 7,718 applicants recommended, 2,465 were women.
Aryal said mainly because of social obstruction, followed by predefined family roles of mother, daughter and daughter-in-law women continue to face obstacles, said Aryal while talking about challenges to women civil service job roles.
“They have to spend more time fulfilling social obligations, which affects their preparation for exams compared to men who can simply focus on their tests,” she said.