Bhutan ranks 121st in the Global Gender Gap Index 2016

Gender: The gender gap in the civil service has narrowed over the years.

The composition of women in the civil service increased to 35.32 percent from 29.5 percent in 2008. Last year, 34.5 percent of civil servants were women.

A total of 9,511 were women from a total of 26,928 civil servants as of June end this year. Slightly over 64 percent (17,417) were men.

The number of women in the civil service over the past 20 years, according to the annual report of the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC), has more than quadrupled from 2,180 to 9,511. Twenty years back, only 16 percent of the civil servants were female.

“Overall, the gender gap is closing fast,” the report states.

However, the report states that there is a “clear gender gap” in the executives and specialists groups. Women executives or specialists make up only around 10 percent of the group.

“While the commission recognises the issue, finding solutions that will help address the gap while upholding meritocracy remains a challenge,” the report adds. One promising sign, however, is that the gender gap in the P1 position category, which is the pool for executives and specialists, is lower with females making up 20 percent of the total.

The gender gap, the report states, should narrow in the near future though it would still be a considerable distance away from the overall female participation level of around 35 percent in the civil service.

There were a total of 253 civil servants in the executive and specialist category as on June 30 this year.

Executives and specialists that provide leadership to the bureaucracy account for less than a percent of the total number of civil servants. This, according to the Civil Service Commission, is not top heavy.

On average, in other bureaucracies, the executives and specialists account for around 3-5 percent.

The average age of civil servants in the executives and specialist category is 53 years.

The majority of the executives and specialists fall in the age group of 50 to 54 years. However, 84 (33.20 percent) of them are above the age of 55 which means that they would be superannuating in the next five years.

The average length of service is 11 years, reflecting a still relatively young civil service.

According to the recently released Global Gender Gap Index 2016 by the World Economic Forum, Bhutan ranks a lowly 121st among 144 countries.

The report analyses disparity against women in health, education, economy and politics. Bhutan stands only ahead of Pakistan, which ranks 143rd, in South Asia.

The report highlights that the country has seen a widening gender gap in female labour force participation, estimated earned income and wage equality.

The report highlighted that there has been an increase in the number of women professional and technical workers in the country. Bhutan also has a smaller gender gap in literacy as compared with some of the countries.

MB Subba