No High Table for Women

Context:
  • With the rise in the number of women entrants, the services have yet another chance to reflect on their talent retention and advancement policies such that the high-table is not just a preserve of men.
Gender Gap in higher Bureaucracy:
  • Skewed selection ratio: There is a scarcity of women in the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) as the recruitment rules were biased in favour of men.
  • Marriage as criteria to leave services: Only unmarried women are favoured to join the services and requiring them to resign if they got married.
  • Top rankers are not at top positions: The numbers women candidate get in Civil services examination do not indicate how many will reach top leadership positions in the services.
Reasons for lack of women representation:
  • Lack of structural changes to include Women: By 1991, women officers were either at junior ranks or faced on-going systemic issues that hindered their progress to senior positions.
  • Mistrust in women’s abilities overshadowed their postings: Women were predominantly considered suitable for “soft” departments, and India has yet to see a woman hold positions.
  • Lack of Opportunity: As women are expected to consider their Family first then their roles and jobs, they are considered less preferable for top positions especially in ministry of Defence, external affairs etc.
Progress steps for women:
  • Top organisations taking stand: Organisations like the IMF and the World Bank can serve as revolving doors through which talent came to India.
  • Prefer women for untouched roles: Women should reach top leadership positions in critical ministries such as finance, commerce and industry, home affairs, and defense.
  • To reflect talentbased positions: It is crucial for the bureaucracy to reflect on their talent retention and advancement policies, ensuring that women have equal opportunities to reach leadership positions.
Main Question: “There is a progress seen in recent years regarding the number of women entering the civil services. How have international organizations, such as the IMF and World Bank, contributed to the lack of female leadership within the Indian bureaucracy and what can be done to address this issue?”
Syllabus Mapping:
  • Subject: Society (GS-I)
    • Sub-Topic: Women Issues and Role of Women Organizations
  • Briefly mention the progress observed in recent years regarding the increased number of women entering the civil services in India.
  • Discuss the potential impact of this limited representation on their policies, practices, and recommendations, which may indirectly affect gender equality and opportunities for women in member countries like India.
  • Explain how the limited female leadership within international organizations may indirectly contribute to the lack of female leadership within the Indian bureaucracy.
  • Suggest initiatives such as awareness campaigns, gender-responsive training, and policy frameworks that promote gender equality and inclusivity within the bureaucracy.
  • Summarize the contributions of international organizations to the lack of female leadership in the Indian bureaucracy.

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