There are currently eight women secretaries out of 75 in different ministries, divisions and departments. For the first time in the history of Bangladesh’s civil administration, female secretaries account for 10.66 percent of the total number of secretaries. Of the eight, two are working as senior secretaries—one in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the other is the chairperson of the Tariff Commission. There are 10 senior secretaries in total.
A woman secretary has been posted as managing director of the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority, which is entrusted with the task of ushering in ‘Digital Bangladesh’. The public administration ministry has appointed a woman secretary. The government has also appointed a woman secretary in the Planning Commission, keeping in mind the goal to make Bangladesh a middle-income country by 2022. The eight women secretaries are: (1) senior secretary in the PMO Suraiya Begum, (2) secretary of women and children affairs ministry Nasima Begum, (3) director-general of Academy for Planning and Development Kaniz Fatema, (4) chairperson of Tariff Commission Mushfeka Ikfat, (5) secretary of expatriates welfare and overseas employees ministry Begum Shamsun Nahar, (6) secretary of cultural affairs ministry Aktari Mamtaz, (7) managing director of Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority Hosne Ara Begum, and (8) Planning Commission member Zuena Aziz. Speaking to this correspondent, Nasima Begum said she has been working as a secretary competing with other male secretaries. “I have been posted as a secretary only because of my performance, not because of the blessings of any of my superiors,” she said. She, however, thinks there are differences between a male officer and a female officer in civil bureaucracy. “We have proved that we are capable of doing everything. Hundreds of female officers have been working in various government offices, including military services,” she added. “After 1990, the government empowered women by posting them in various government offices and the country is forging ahead,” Nasima Begum said.
Tariff Commission chairperson Mushfeka Ikfat said female officers have been posted after they had proved their efficiency and merit. “The prime minister wants female officers to formulate government policies and wants them to reach that level. And that is why many female officers are now holding senior positions in different ministries,” she said. A former adviser to the immediate past caretaker government, Dhiraj Kumar Nath, said women officers have been posted because of their efficiency. “We have seen that women are cool-headed and they work with utmost sincerity. They are not corrupt and partisan,” he said. Public administration ministry said there are six women deputy commissioners (DCs) in six districts. Also, there are several women superintendents of police. Besides, there is a woman officer in the rank of Brigadier General, working in the medical corps of Bangladesh Army.