Women in Public Administration



Women in Public Administration

“Increasing the proportion of women in public institutions makes them more representative, increases innovation, improves decision-making and benefits whole societies” - António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, Message on International Women’s Day 2017 


In 2015, governments unanimously endorsed the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and, through its Goal 16 on “promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies” and Goal 5 on “ensuring gender equality and women’s empowerment,” recognized the role of gender equality and inclusive public administration and institutions in achieving more peaceful, prosperous, equal and sustainable societies.

Public administration refers to the aggregate state-funded machinery, including agencies, policies and services, in charge of the management and implementation of laws, regulations and decisions of the government. It enables countries to implement national policies and programmes and is essential in driving sustainable development[1].  

In many countries, public institutions continue to be male-dominated and patriarchal, perpetuating harmful, and sometimes violent, attitudes and practices. Although there is no global baseline on women’s participation in public administration, existing research from UNDP shows that women are under-represented, especially in leadership and decision-making roles. The available data suggests that women make up on average 45% of public administration, yet there is high variation of women’s participation across countries, ranging from 3% to 77%. The overall share of women in public administration is highest, on average, in OECD countries (55.1%), and lowest in the Arab States (35.9%). However, when looking at the share of women in decision-making positions in public administration, the highest average share is found in Latin America and the Caribbean (43.4%) and the lowest in Africa (25.1%). Moreover, just 20% of countries have reached parity (50%) in the share of women in decision-making positions of public administration[2].

Diversity, including equal access of women to leadership roles, is not only the right thing to do but also the most productive. A recent UNDP and McKinsey study found that female participation in public administration and in decision-making roles is positively correlated with economic development as well as gender equality in society. It also suggests that women’s equal participation and leadership creates conducive environment for a better and more effective government. These findings are reinforced by another recent report by the Wilson Center that concludes: “where there are more women in power, there is better governance, and where there is good governance, there are more women in power.”


This e-Discussion is a forum to promote a dialogue on the role of women in public administration and decision-making and exchange knowledge and good practices on ways to increase and strengthen women’s participation in public administration and decision-making and ensure public institutions are safe and free of sexual harassment and gender-based violence. Please join the e-Discussion from 28 March to 19 April 2019. Women and men in politics and in public administration, national and local government representatives, civil society activists, experts, practitioners, and academia are invited to contribute with their experiences by answering to one or more of the below questions. The submissions will contribute to the elaboration of a Consolidated Reply that will augment the knowledge base available on the topic.


  1. Data is essential in identifying trends and shape targeted and effective policy responses. What is the level of women’s participation in public administration in your country? What about women in senior management positions in public institutions?  
  2. There are many barriers to women’s full and equal participation in public administration and leadership. For example, women in public administration often face sexual harassment and gender-based violence[3]. Do women in public administration in your country face sexual harassment and/or gender-based violence? What are other barriers hindering women’s equal participation in leadership and decision-making roles in your country?
  3. What can be done to increase the equal and full participation of women, including young women, in public administration at all levels? What can be done to ensure public administration is free from sexual harassment and gender-based violence? Please share examples of good practices.
  4. Have women in public administration in your country used their position to advance sustainable development and peace? Please share examples. 

To contribute

  1. Use the below comment section below.
  2. Send your contribution to connect@iknowpolitics.org so that we can post it on your behalf.


[1] Public Administration Reform: Practice Note. UNDP, 2004. 

[2] GEPA Initiative Database. UNDP and University of Pittsburgh, 2019.

[3] A recent report by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe revealed an alarming amount of sexual and psychological harassment/bullying targeting female staff of parliaments in Europe. 40.5% of those interviewed said that they had suffered acts of sexual harassment in their work and 50% had received comments of a sexual nature.

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Rekha Shukla's picture

Need to have good percentage of women representation in every Committee that is formed to take decision.Even if the gift has to hire women consultants from outside the office.For e.g. In sports sector there is negligible presence of women in the committees.Its still male dominated. We need to change.Give women free hand to work & give suggestions.Involve NGOs where decision reg social issues to be taken.Officers sitting inside AC office are not aware about the situation on the ground & they have been trusted to make policies & take decision that's why crores rupees r wasted but not reached right people.

Evelyn Gracias 's picture

In El Salvador there are about 30% in management position in public institution. In board of directors of public institutions or as ministries there are few women leading institutions. Even though if they are in board they are relegate to be the secretariat of the committees but there is very little participation with real empowerment.
2Q: women in public administration in El Salvador face sexual harassment and gender-based violence. I think is a cultural issue. An structural problem because those who work in the public administration are part of the citizens of the country that are been educated in an environment with gender cliches. They grow and go to workplaces with that “set of values”. I think is critical that at the top of the institution must have the compromise to eradicate that practices.
I think education is key. If women study and prepare themselves for management or leading position, when the competition for a job is open, if women have the skills needed there are more possibilities to get the job and begin to incide in decision making process.

I think transparency and equal treatment is key. Institution should have gender units where women can report specific situation and the administration should punish the agresor and make it public, so other agresor get informed that in that working place women have a voice and support. Also this information motivate other women to report in a daily basis anything that is happening in their working place.
A sistematical campaign to educate employees about sexual harassment and gender-based violence is important so we can be more consciencious about this topic.
I think Ciudad Mujer is a good example of what a woman with power in public administration can do. Sadly the sustainability is always in jeopardy because of corruption and change of governments .

abtagu@gmail's picture

Women are the keys to economy development sustainability, because what men can do women does best.

admin's picture

Posted on behalf of Dr. Mrs. Chidi Ogbuta, former Governorship Candidate to IMO State, Nigeria.

1. What’s the level of women’s participation in public administration of your country?

The level of women’s participation in public administration of my country is very low. At the executive level, no woman has ever been elected the president of the country or governor of any state. I tried to break this yoke with my candidacy and hopeful victory in 2019 Guber election in Imo State, but the triple wicked combination of vote trading, electoral violence and outright falsification of results sheets remained a clog in the wheel to achieve this noble aim.

At the Legislative position, the NASS has been unable to raise a female Senate President and with a total membership of 469 persons, only 23 members made up of eight senators and 15 House members are female lawmakers in the current Eighth National Assembly. With the elections come and gone, the number of Female National Assembly member elect for Ninth Assembly has gone down to 19—six female senators-elect and 13 female House members-elect. At the State level, the numbers is even worse between one to two and at most three female State House of Assembly members.

What about women in senior management positions in public institutions?

The trend is the same. At the beginning of the current administration of Muhummadu Buhari, only six women were appointed ministers which is down to four currently. And this is less than 15% of the total number of the federal government cabinet. This template is equally followed by most State governors.

2. Do women in public administration in your country face sexual harassment and/or gender based violence?

Yes, a Nigeria female politician as it stands currently has bleak future. Her obtaining the candidate form at party level is not guaranteed. If she pulls through and obtains it, there’s no primary election. If there’s primary election, she’s rigged out of the contest. If she wins the primary, party men will frustrate her with court hassles. 

If she succeeds through the court, someone with political connection will either want to take sexual advantage of her or initiate her into contracts that are anti-common good before helping her. If she maneuvers that, there are thugs and armed officers to unleash violence to her and her supporters. If she escapes that there’re political merchandisers ready to buy over her supporters and all voters. If they insist on voting for her the electoral materials are burnt by hoodlums or the results altered at collation centers.

She is everywhere unsafe. She demands for her fundamental human right to security, she asked to offer a bribe. She refused to offer a bribe and she’s denied protection. She goes to campaign some men ridicule her as wrestling power with men. 

What are other barriers hindering women’s equal participation in leadership and decision making roles in your country?

The barriers are twofold: Money politics and violence.

On the monetary aspect, the money politics played in the Nigeria climate is usually high that most females can’t match their male counterparts in election campaign expenditure. When I was at the exploratory phase of my campaign, some people told me that I need at least N300 million (equivalent of $840,000) to be able to win Governorship election in Nigeria. I ask them for what and they said for settling of thugs, buying over voters, etc. I said, that’s not gonna happen. I’m going to serve and the citizens will be the ones to want me to serve them and not me buying them over to serve them.

I tried to beat that by running a caravan like kind of campaign I dubbed “Campaign of Lovely development” where I stop at junctions, markets, churches, schools conversing with the electorates and dishing out my wonderful plans to better Imo State. On the election day, even those women I seem to have converted on the campaign trail to our good cause sold their votes for as little as N500 or N1000 ($2/3).

On the violence aspect, it’s notorious that the rate of violence in Nigeria politics is scary, a zero sum attitude by most politicians don’t help matters. And the security forces exacerbate it. For example, in my own case, the Zone 9 Division Umuahia denied me security because I refused to grease their palm and thusly used that as a means to stop my campaign while the male candidates have bevy of SPU policemen who cause traffic with their retinue of aides. If you know a thing about Nigerian elections, you just agree that violence plays a massive role in determining who comes out victorious and who loses. The use of thugs to intimidate and harass and burn electoral materials scare women from participating. Little less wonder, in the whole of Imo State only myself is the female governorship candidate in the midst of 70 men.

3. What can be done to increase the equal and full participation of women including young women, in public administration at all levels?

I propose that the UN Women in line with its goal to engender women participation in governance organize grassroots women leader training against vote trading and the need to stop violence in the various communities of Nigeria. Because a severe lack of political education in our populace contributed immensely to why the people sold their votes and why violence is rampant.

The essence of training these leaders is that they will be the one educating their fellow women in the villages on the dangers of selling one’s vote, its consequences and the need to desist from that, because vote selling won’t bridge the inequity gap when it comes to gender balance.

On the individual level, there should be an orientation to get more women to participate in the political arena. One reason why women are not making it to the required position, aside the inherent structural defects arising from patriarchal culture, is deficit of leadership ambition and training among them. So I propose that we’ve a leadership orientation for women generally on the need for them to participate as candidates for elections. 

What can be done to ensure public administration is free from sexual harassment and gender based violence? Please share examples of good practices.

I think we’ve to take a cue from Leymah Gbowee in her book, Mighty Be Our Powers, where she rightly said that the best way to curb violence against women is to get “More women in power.” When more women get in the race, more will be elected. And they will make laws or put in place policies that will balance the political arena for all genders to participate without fear of sexual harassment and gender based violence.

4. Have women in public administration in your country used their position to advance sustainable development and peace? Please share examples.

Yes. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the former minister for finance and coordinating economy who introduced and launched the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) used in weeding out ghost workers in all parastatals and ministries and uncovered most of the fraud through the use of biometric data capture machine[1]. This was a very good initiative which has saved numerous money for the Federal Government of Nigeria.

[1] Federal Ministry of Finance, “ FG Sets December Deadline For Full Implementation of IPPIS and GIFMIS”, http://www.finance.gov.ng/index.php/resources/9-uncategorised/156-fg-sets-december-deadline-for-full-implementaion-of-ippis-and-gifmis

Meraj Hamayun Khan's picture

In absence of data it is difficult to comment on the status of women in public administration. My guess is that it is approximately 15 % which includes appointments on low position of junior clerks, computer operators ie from grade 2 - 14. It is extremely difficult for wome to be appointed on decision making positions, from grade 17 to 22. The government does not agree to this and they state that In education and health Departments there is a gender balance which is true but they refer to primary school teachers and nurses, once again low grade employees who face many problems including sexual harassment and violence at workplace. There are no female official at decision making levels even in these departments who would look into their problems and protect them in the workplace. Even when a 1women reaches the highest level she feels threatened. Recently a female cardiologist in Peshawar had to resign in disgust as her male boss kept harassing her and telling her that she had come to the wrong side as women, according to him, should only opt for gynae and obstetrics.

Meraj Hamayun Khan's picture

The current system is based on rules set by a rigid and non -compromising patriarchal and feudal thinking. It is not only an unjust and biased system, it is also a hypocritical system which ignores excesses committed by one gender against another.
Sadly women are still unaware and refuse to accept the fact that injustice is being committed against them. Poor information system, lack of education, restrictions on mobility and exposure prevent women from understanding what is happening in society.


There is need to create affirmative action laws that are binding at all levels in society. Such laws will make it mandatory for governments and other institutions to have specific numbers of women representatives in the decision making process. In Kenya for example we have the 2/3 Gender rule which if its not met will create a constitutional crisis with the possibility of leading to the dissolution of parliament. Significant steps have therefore been made to realize the 2/3 gender rule and this is evident in the composition of various levels of professionals where more and more women continue to be hired . However a lot still needs to be done and this also involves changing the mindset of the male population from a male chauvinistic attitude to an all inclusive attitude.

Editor's picture

Posted on behalf of Ms. Puleng Letsie, Lesotho.

1. What is the level of women’s participation in public administration in your country? What about women in senior management positions in public institutions?  

Although women's participation in Lesotho politics is increasing with some of the younger women professionals joining politics, the actual number who got elected or made it to Parliament through party and/ or national quota systems has decreased. There are however some improvements in terms of women being appointed to some senior Administration positions such as Principal Secretaries, within the Judiciary and other key positions like Ambassadors.

2. Do women in public administration in your country face sexual harassment and/or gender-based violence? What are other barriers hindering women’s equal participation in leadership and decision-making roles in your country?

There are many barriers to women’s full and equal participation in public administration and leadership, but in the case of Lesotho sexual harassment and gender-based violence are not necessarily the key issues for women in leadership, as their challenges are mainly around intimidation, smear campaigns and others such as economic challenges and issues around safety in the instance of opposing major leaders.

Although through the support of partners such as SADC, the UN, EU and others, there have been deliberate efforts to empower women parliamentarians (more so than generally women in leadership positions), we have not realised the gains of these efforts as some critical issues facing women are still not being addressed. For instance, domestic violence legislation has been in process for almost 10 years - yet GBV is at its highest in the country. Other Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights issues also do not seem to get the attention that they deserve. 

3. What can be done to increase the equal and full participation of women, including young women, in public administration at all levels?

In terms of what can be done - as long as there are no clear accountability measures and procedures, or not being implemented if they are there, the cycle will continue and we shall not see the meaningful engagement and participation of women in leadership and public administration except for a few bold ones who have other means of support.  

Editor's picture

 Posted on behalf of Akua Dansua, former Minister of Youth and Sports (first female to occupy the post to date) and former Ambassador of Ghana to Germany.

1. What’s the level of women’s participation in public administration of your country?

Ghana can be referenced within Africa with  the lowest parity of  25.1%, Ghana as a Country can be said to doing better compared to many Countries on the Continent even though the pace is not as fast as we would have  thought. At least if for nothing, our Constitution provides equal access to both men and women to assume leadership positions. Unfortunately low education. a and other socio-cultural factors such as women’s reproductive roles, violence against women including sexual harassment  and the gap between aspiration  and achievement levels  and other such challenges identified in various studies have affected gender parity as far as  women in leadership roles are concerned. They have been measured achievements over the years but a lot more needs to be done. Various stakeholders including governmental, non-governmental organizations, the media and donor partners have Initiated activities, programmes and projects to enhance women’s participation in public and political leadership positions. (Data is available and can be sourced on the details).

2. Do women in public administration in your country face sexual harassment and/or gender based violence?

Again, Ghana, is not exempt from challenges confronting women anyway in the world including gender-based violence and sexual harassment. The only difference is that, reportage of these problems is low compared to the situation in the developed world where the “me-too”and such  movements are making waves, naming and shaming  of perpetrators of such disgraceful acts against women and other victims. Here again, socio-cultural factors are largely to blame for the  low reportage of incidences. Education is  however on-going especially in educational institutions, corporate and public sector organizations,  churches among others for victims to report perpetrators of such acts.

3. What can be done to increase the equal and full participation of women including young women, in public administration at all levels?

A lot of effort is on-going to enhance equal and full of participation of women in public administration in Ghana, especially targeting young women in school. These include mentorship/ mentoring and internship  programmes and  through curriculum enhancement. Additionally, education on naming and shaming perpetrators is being intensified for victims to  among others break socio-cultural barriers to reportage of cases of harassment and abuse. A lot more  however needs to be done to either eliminate  sexual harassment and violence against women in a Ghana.

4. Have women in public administration in your country used their position to advance sustainable development and peace? Please share examples.

Ghanaian women have contributed a lot to the development of Ghana in all spheres of life including  Ghana’ sustainable  development and peace. Talk about women in politics, in the security services,in public administration, in religion, the media. Ghanaian women have contributed a lot. Also talking about corruption which has negatively impacted the development of  most Countries, in Ghana, women compared to men have been involved in fewer cases of corruption, an indication that women are more concerned about the Nation’s development than men.

Nasheli Noriega's picture

I'm 36 years old and single. I am a very competent professional with more that 10 years of experience and until very recently I worked for 4 years at the Division of Human Rights at the MFA of my country, my domain were women's human rights.
For a long time this small, very small, area was operated by a 6-8 people team. Due to budget restrictions and inefficiency, when I came in charge we were only 3 in the team, which meant that our workloads were never less than a full working day and a half. Moreover, we were responsible for the operation of a "gender-labeled budget" of 50,000, while the whole division - made up of 35 people - had to operate 150,000.
My stress was permanently at the maximum level and my endocrine system began to crash after 2 years. With 2 burn outs in less than a year and a half, my doctor diagnosed a sever hormonal imbalance produced by a permanent induction of cortisol into my system. I was told that my chances of getting pregnant would reduce drastically, not only because of aging, but because of adrenaline in my system and its long term impacts. I was told that if however, I wanted to have a baby, there were options related to hormonal treatments that are very costly for a single mom and would indebt me for sure. So, I would have to work harder, leaving no time for the baby, which made me realized that it was nonsense. So, in my case my job was not only an antagonym of motherhood as such but even to the simple idea of it.
The funny part is that I then realized that many of my friends - most of them committed feminists working for women's right in different sectors: CSO, private, international organizations, etc.- were all under very similar health circumstances as mine.
I can conclude, that even if the conditions at the MFA were less than ideal, it is beyond that. The system in which we are supposed to work in my country is against natural cycles that allow proper reproduction, and this brings enormous consequences hormonally wise to women, unfortunately. Particularly when the stress of the whole pregnancy process arrives at the peak of your professional career.
The life-cycle approach in gender mainstreaming, should therefore consider this aspect of the half of humankind life.


In my country, the Ivory Coast, we still have a long way to go even if the government is trying to improve the situation; is it a genuine willingness to do so or just political reasons in looking at the 2002 upcoming presidential election.
Here are the data:
7 women out of 41 secretaries of State
29 women out of 255 representatives
8 women out of 66 senators
15 women out of 200 mayors
only one woman out of 31 presidents of regions/ regional council
That said the president just signed a bill in April 2019, requiring that all organizations including political parties respect a percentage of 33% of women in their organizations. Is it the way to go? I may say it is one way maybe not the best approach, but it is a start.

The working conditions in the administration, at least in the Ivory Coast, are not ideal to the extent that some men refused for their wives to work for the government because of the abuse they may be exposed to. It always starts with the verbal harassment. The other point to stress is that Acceptance or hiring rules and promotion procedures need to be very clear so that no one may feel left behind. Transparency is the key because promotions are difficult to reach for women and they need to be highly qualified to be able to have access to certain positions, men don’t have this pressure, but it is the reality on the ground.
We may say that it is getting a little bit better nowadays, at least it seems like it, but we have a long way to go. Changing the mindset of men and women about their civil rights and what is acceptable and what respect means.
That said, women who were able to reach the higher level of the ladders have to fight everyday to prove that they deserve the position and sometimes don’t have time to emphasize sustainable development and peace the way they could do it even if that's how they approach their assignment.

Editor's picture

Posted on behalf of Gabrielle Bardall, Gender Advisor IFES Gender

Q1: Collecting and maintaining data on women in public administration (especially at local levels and recording levels of seniority within administration) is extremely challenging and requires significant resources. An outstanding resource is the Gender Inequality Research Lab (GIRL) at the University of Pittsburgh. USAID’s Diamond Leadership Model (DLM) is another valuable resource to understanding women’s leadership beyond elected office. At IFES, we believe it is especially important to understand the role of women leaders in one particular area of public administration -- the area of electoral administration. Electoral management bodies (EMBs) are stewards of democracy, both in the effective management of highly complex logistical operations and in the projection of the values and norms of democracy across the societies where they operate. EMBs are responsible for ensuring inclusive and equal participation in fundamental democratic processes, yet internal EMB practices and leadership often fail to meet the same goal for equality when it comes to women’s participation in the administration of elections. According to IFES research, currently less than a quarter of the world’s EMBs are led by women. In some regions, the number is as low as 6 percent female leadership of EMBs.

Women’s leadership in electoral administration is critically important because elections define the shape of democracy. Specifically, electoral management issues determine how women participate in elections and, ultimately, how their voices contribute to the governance of their countries.

For example, EMB executives are responsible for whether polling stations are accessible and if voter education reach the most marginalized groups in the country. They control whether procedures for candidacy submissions impose equal barriers or constraints on candidates of different sexes. They must plan for electoral security by taking into account the unique types of violence experienced by women in elections. EMB leaders influence whether electoral justice is equally accessible and responsive for all. Barriers to women’s electoral participation are more likely to persist so long as female perspectives are absent or underrepresented in the management of electoral processes. Women in EMB leadership are public-sector entrepreneurs, working to enhance service provision and shaping the space for private sector women to participate.

Despite growing calls for integrating the principals of gender equality into all areas of electoral activity, women’s presence in the executive ranks of EMB leadership remains minimal and poorly understood. This is problematic for two reasons. For one, gender inequality in electoral leadership creates a normative trickle-down effect across all areas of civic and political participation, especially in transitional states. Secondly, as research in corporate governance demonstrates, organizations with few or no women in executive leadership are less effective, less skilled at problem-solving, and experience lower levels of public trust and confidence. Furthermore, IFES research on violence against women in elections and in politics (VAWE/P) demonstrates that women working in public administration for EMBs are regularly targeted by violence, much of which is specifically gendered in nature.

In the absence of any sex-disaggregated data or gendered analyses of electoral administration, researchers and practitioners cannot determine the impact on key electoral administrative decisions and roles that impact the shape and course of democracies worldwide. IFES is working to solve this gap, by collecting and making data available to practitioners and researchers who want to better understand women’s role in this key area of public administration and their impact on shaping and sustaining democracy.

Editor's picture

Posted on behalf of Dr. Santosh Kumar Mishra (Ph. D.), Technical Assistant, Population Education Resource Centre (PERC), Department of Continuing and Adult Education and Extension Work, S. N. D. T. Women's University (SNDTWU), India. 

Q1.Data is essential in identifying trends and shape targeted and effective policy responses. What is the level of women’s participation in public administration in your country? What about women in senior management positions in public institutions? 

Yes, data base is essential in identifying trends and shaping targeted and effective policy responses. Extent of women’s participation in public administration in India, the country I am located in, is far from satisfaction. However, the situation has improved over the years due to strategic interventions: both in governmental and non-governmental sectors. It is pertinent to note that the initiatives needed for increasing women’s participation in public administration in India has several challenges as India iv very diverse in terms of language, culture, religious practices, etc.  

Over the past two decades, gender gaps have narrowed in various areas, viz., education, health, employment, legal rights of women, participation in governance, and so on. But, despite the improvement, substantial inequalities, with varying degrees, still persist across all the areas across regions of India. It would be noteworthy to mention that India is a signatory to all the international commitments mentioned above. However, the country (India) is far behind in achieving gender equality, especially in terms of representation of women in political decision making, among others (https://www.oxfamindia.org/blog/women-representation-political-decision-making-catalyst-achieving-gender-equality, accessed on April 12, 2019).

As regards women in senior management positions in public institutions in India (the country the contributor is located at), despite the existing legal provisions women are often deprived from their basic rights, subjected to sexual harassment, given low-paid marginal jobs, excluded from the decision making in both politics and economy, not acknowledged as contributors to the family and society as a whole. While gender inequality in many arenas has been on the agenda of social research and activism for decades, gender inequality in organizational leadership has been sadly overlooked (http://womenleadership.in/Csr/Women-Managers-In-India.pdf, accessed on April 16, 2019).

Q2.There are many barriers to women’s full and equal participation in public administration and leadership. For example, women in public administration often face sexual harassment and gender-based violence. Do women in public administration in your country face sexual harassment and/or gender-based violence? What are other barriers hindering women’s equal participation in leadership and decision-making roles in your country?

Women in public administration in India face sexual harassment and, including gender-based violence (GBV). The Indian constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, but the position of women remains unequal, according to a United Nations report. Women in India have long been subject to entrenched cultural biases that perpetuate the valuing of sons over daughters, who are often seen as an economic burden to families that fear high dowries and wedding costs, experts say (https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/governance-india-womens-rights, accessed on April 16, 2019).

Q3. What can be done to increase the equal and full participation of women, including young women, in public administration at all levels? What can be done to ensure public administration is free from sexual harassment and gender-based violence? Please share examples of good practices.

International organisations, national women’s machineries and equality and human rights commissions need to extend the debate on women’s leadership into the public and private sectors more consistently (in addition to the political sphere) as well as explicitly integrate women’s public and private sector leadership into the concept of and strategies for women’s empowerment and agency. Studies have demonstrated that boards on which women are represented are more likely to be financially successful, have less likelihood of governance scandals and are less likely to operate in tax havens. Moreover, when women are in leadership positions – for example, as a chief executive officer (CEO) – then it is more likely that there will be a subsequent increase in women directors. This suggests that the pipeline for the future supply of women leaders might be enhanced once women are in senior positions (http://thecommonwealth.org/sites/default/files/news-items/documents/Women%20in%20Leadership%20Discussion%20Paper.pdf, accessed on April 16, 2019).

Q4.Have women in public administration in your country used their position to advance sustainable development and peace? Please share examples.

Gender issue is basically one that affects women directly or indirectly. In other words, any social evil perpetrated at the cost of women, any law or custom that reinforces and institutionalises women’s inferior status in society, or any event or series of events that affects large number of women can be regarded as a gender issue. Gender issues are also those that galvanise large numbers of women into action, any such issues, which catch the attention of women’s groups, and subsequently of the media (http://www.iipa.org.in/New%20Folder/2--Anil%20Dutta.pdf, accessed on April 16, 2019).

Christopher Lee's picture

Question 3)
Chechen women continue to suffer from an array of socially regressive hardships championed by the republic’s head of state. President Ramzan Kadyrov, an Islamist rebel turned Moscow-approved strongman, launched an initiative designed to reorient Chechen women into a more restrictive paradigm derived from a conservative conception of Islam. Although women are not legally obliged to wear head coverings in public, women often endure harassment and violence for dressing immodestly. Additionally, violence against women often goes unpunished and unreported. This stems from the de jure and de facto acceptance of inter-family violence as a valuable deterrent against social liberalism. Kadyrov’s so-called “virtue campaign,” much like Chechen oppression of women broadly, has used both social and legal mechanisms to restrict women’s autonomy.
The response to this initiative and other breaches of human rights committed by the Kadyrov government exemplify how women have led the fight against their own oppression from outside the administrative levers of power in Chechnya. Female journalists and human rights activists have stood out as uniquely effective champions of the Chechen resistance against sexism and all human rights abuses in Chechnya. Award-winning Journalist and Chechnya native Natalya Estemirova spoke out against Kadyrov’s imposition of increasingly restrictive social reforms, and produced evidence of revenge killings committed by the Kadyrov government. She also exposed atrocities committed by Russian forces during the 1999 invasion of Chechnya. Eventually, Estemirova’s activism and muckraking proved too subversive for the Kadyrov regime. She was abducted and murdered in 2009.
Human rights advocate Svetlana Gannushkina has also stood against the marginalization of women. She founded the Civil Assistance Committee, which helps Central Asian refugees avoid repatriation back to their home countries where they face persecution. In 2017, she provided support for Chechen women who had been forced by the government to re-enter potentially abusive relationships with their ex-husbands.
These stories of heroism teach us that activism provides an effective avenue for change when political institutions de-emphasize women’s participation and neglect their right to self-determination.

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Posted on behalf of Leah Fleischer, college student at Montgomery College, Israel.

1. Israel is nearly up to standard in terms of female representation in Parliament. The UN standard for accurate representation is a 30% female parliament. Israeli Knesset is 27.3% female. Clearly, while Israel fares better than other nations in the region, it still, as a democracy has ways to go in terms of female representation in Israeli government. Between 1948 and 1992 only 6 women ever served in Israeli cabinet. Opportunities for women on local levels of government have been slim. Israel as a country has a deep societal focus on the family and traditional family structure which impacts involvement.  In 1992 Israel elected its first Female Prime minster Golda Meir whom, paradoxically succeeded under the impression that she was the only man in parliament. Israeli culture is very patriarchal and connected with the countries fears about security. While Women in the Israeli military still don’t have all the same roles as men and the the ministries of Security and finance contain, as of 2015 no women in governing roles, there is a myth of equality but still in Israel but as one can see from the societal troubles and high fertility rates, in Israel there is still an issue in terms of full and palatable equality. The most recent election was indicative of the political climate in Israel. The focus of the two most popular candidates who at first tied in the election-Gantz and Netanyhu was security. Both argued for an activist military position which  argued Israel needed was done with negotiations. Both these candidates ran on a very masculine image of reality, one in which, with stoic expressions shadowing freeways projected a message of the strong man, that for Israel to be successful and productive it must take up a masculine role.

2. Women in public administration in Israel do face sexual harassment. Women in Israel are often pressured to have kids. The culture sees family structure as art of a national contribution. While the early constitution lists sex as one of the protected affiliations, conflict on women's status emerged among religious groups who had and different plan for women. Israel is unique in terms of how it institutes laws among ethnic groups. Its early government was based on the Ottoman Millet system which granted internal legal authority to local religious courts whose decisions were often highly patriarchal. Still the rabbinate has great importance in Israel, and for religious and non religious people, the barriers to inclusion in for example religious administration in Israel are barred by one's religious status and also often by the basis of sex. Because of the focus on the family and Jewish continuity women are often barred from public life. In addition a traditionally masculine political agenda and a historically low number of women in public policy has created an atmosphere where woman's issues are ignored and women's concerns do not receive the same priority of attention as other issues within the state. Women also face large amounts of sexual harassment. The military for example has high levels of sexual abuse. Women at all levels of power held a 2015 conference on sexual harassment. Israel has seen its own me too, with the masculine culture, a patriarchal valuation of women, and a decentralization  of the courts contributing to deep societal problems that bar many women form full political participation. 

3. Raising awareness about sexual harassment and establishing institutional sanctions for men who are accused would send the message in Israel that harassment is not okay. Women should be educated about their political opportunities and efforts should be made to encourage women to run. Women's religious seminary students should be required to take a government class so they can be informed on how the system works and can make legitimate decisions that can empower them in their community. Many religious sects in Israel have their own television channels. PSAs could be put on those stations informing insular populations about the problem of abuse in the community encouraging them to take abuse to the police and crack down on it in their community, employing the support of well known  rabbis to back the cause and also back the idea of woman's leadership. Also young men, especially those in the military should be educated about woman's issues and in the training process and be informed about abuse with sensitivity training on toxic masculinity. Men should be made aware of how they see women and informed of rape and harassment myths and how their spread encourages a negative pervasion in society. The Israeli military should also draft women in addition to men. The message would be that women, civilly are just as important as men in civic society. 

4. Women in Israeli public administration have had an interesting relationship to peace and development. In the 1980's and 1990's the peace movement was very popular in Israel. The 1967 war brought Israel more territory but also internal dissent that accompanied the resulting cultural glorification of the military by Israeli society after that war. The peace movements sought to counter these developments using territories as bargaining chips for establishing peace. (Helman, Sara). Movements such as the Women In Black protested Israel's role in Lebanon and successfully turned public opinion away, motivating a change in Policy. Currently settlements are a hot button issue. At this point many people in Israel are afraid that the motivation for peace, and the process for it is to be hindered by the current bend of Israeli's electorate. A popular article by the Brookings institute and one by vox asks if the peace process is dead. Currently on the far right, on one of the biggest parties the former Justice minister Ayelet Shaked is another candidate who ran, with a far right bend on the current wave of candidates with a platform against the peace process. While Shaked did not receive a seat in parliament, it seems the social message is clear for a woman to be popular or any politician popular, an emphasis on security is required to make it in politics. 

Tomás Báscolo's picture

1- Data is essential in identifying trends and shape targeted and effective policy responses. What is the level of women’s participation in public administration in your country? What about women in senior management positions in public institutions?

Argentina is considered to be one of the most “progressive” or, how some people label it “European” country of Latin American. When it comes to gender inclusivity on official public positions in very different institutions, Argentina seems to be experiencing nowadays an increasing number of women participating in decision-making governmental positions. According to Womensats.org, "17.4% of ministerial positions in Argentina (4 out of 23 total positions) are held by women". Although the actual percentage of women holding ministerial position is not as high as it should be, progress has been done since the history of Argentina has had unforgettable female characters as political icons for the people of Argentina. Additionally, According to the Women in Parliament Chart, Argentina is ranked number 17 with women compromising 37.4 percent of the Lower House, which is equivalent to 96 out of 257 seats, and 38.9 percent of the Upper House, which is equivalent to 28 out of 72 seats.
Eventought, the patriarchal system is, undoubtfully, still present in the Argentina society and government nowadays, the Argentine youth has a great shared understanding of the oppression of many social institutions towards women in the Argentine society. Furthermore, iconic political figures, such as Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner or Eva Peron, represent the most important, as well as prospective stages of the history of Argentina. "Several of South America’s top economies were led by women: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of the Peronist party governed Argentina from 2007 to 2015". Being these two female individuals so culturally, as well as politically and historically to the Argentine society, invites to expect some future progress for the Argentine government, including women to the parliament, senate, and even the presidency.

2. There are many barriers to women’s full and equal participation in public administration and leadership. For example, women in public administration often face sexual harassment and gender-based violence[3]. Do women in public administration in your country face sexual harassment and/or gender-based violence? What are other barriers hindering women’s equal participation in leadership and decision-making roles in your country?

With no doubts, women in Argentina face several kinds of violence, as well as physical harassment in public administrations on a daily basis both at work, as well as on the public sphere. According to the website Womenstats.org, "the Committee remains concerned about...Barriers faced by women in political and public life, such as the unequal distribution of child-raising and household tasks between women and men, violence and harassment against women engaged in political life and patriarchal structures within political parties" (10).
Regardless of the cultural barriers that prevent women from achieving higher salaries and better governmental job positions, such as sexual harassment, discrimination, underminization, and pure favoritism towards men. "Argentina was something of a trailblazer, the first country in the region to adopt quotas, in 1991". These quotas serve as requirements for governmental institution towards its employees and the number of women who should be hired. "Decrees provide that one-third of the members of both houses of Congress must be women, a goal achieved through balanced election slates. There were 25 women in the 72-seat Senate and 82 women in the 257-seat Chamber of Deputies. The president, two of the seven Supreme Court justices, and three cabinet ministers were women" (Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government).

3.What can be done to increase the equal and full participation of women, including young women, in public administration at all levels? What can be done to ensure public administration is free from sexual harassment and gender-based violence? Please share examples of good practices.

I believe that the key to solving the unequal number of participation from women and men on governmental institutions lays on both cultural, as well as administrative regulations. I believe that, by seeking to insert in the Argentine society a new understanding of women’s role on politics, the number of women who would fell encouraged to participate and seek their goals on politics will be drastically beneficial for gender equality. Furthermore, I believe that this cultural change it is being persuaded by the youth feminist activist of Argentina, highlighting the importance of the relationship of the personal sphere and the political, as well as the crucial role that Argentine women have played on the history of the country and how crucial their fight will be for future generations and the destiny of the country.
When it comes to applying administrative, as well as behavioral regulation on governmental jobs, as well as regular jobs, it is crucial to elect individuals who believe on the importance of gender equality at all public levels and, therefore, vote for more inclusive political agendas and laws that favor women, as well as men, and every citizen, by assuring gender equality.

kimberlyn Arevalo's picture

1. In the country of Guatemala women have a small presence in the political world. The country of Guatemala has a population of 15.8 million, women in Guatemala represent over fifty-one percent of that population. According to Prensa Libre, a major newspaper in Guatemala, women make up fifty-two percent of the members of the political parties, twenty percent of members of the national executive committee and only twelve percent of presidency or general secretary position. According to that information there is some women involvement in the Guatemalan government but women only make up a very low twelve percent of those leadership positions. The UN Women organization informs the readers a few factors that contribute to the lack of women involved in leadership roles in Guatemala. Some limitations that are negatively affecting women are territorial, ethnic and gender interconnected inequalities. Men are the ones who own most of the land to work on and the properties, which leads to the territorial inequalities. Since more than half of Guatemala’s population lives in rural areas one can see how territorial inequalities have a significant impact on women in this part that part of the country. In Guatemala there is very little female participation in positions of management in public institutions. Despite that there are many organizations that are coming together to give women the knowledge they need to reach those leading positions in their communities. The Netherlands Institute for multiparty democracy (NIMD) is working alongside three Guatemalan organizations, which are MOLOF, alas de mariposa and Convergencia Cívico-Política de Mujeres. These organizations are working together to reach their common goal of making Guatemalan political system more representative of the true Guatemalan society. By teaching women human rights, laws and how the states administration works and how systems are created.

2. Women face many different obstacles in the Guatemalan society that lowers their quality of life, leaving women at a disadvantage in basically every aspect of their lives. Women are faced with issues that only apply to them in Guatemala. Some examples are explained in the article “ In Guatemala there is still much more to do to reach the empowerment of women” by Angelina Saadoun, she tells the audience that every year more than 500 women are killed in the country. Guatemala among other Latin American countries has one of the highest rates of femicide in the world . Unfortunately only four percent of those homicides end up with conviction. Saadoun explains that in majority of cases the violence against women is manifested through torture rape and mutilation. The author tells the audience about theses injustices to bring attention to the acts of violence against women in Guatemala and to show that gender specific crimes and violence is a major issues for Guatemalan women. These instances of crimes and violence directed specifically towards women undoubtedly limits women’s participation in equal participation in leadership and decision-making roles. Guatemalan women also face limitations in their participation in the economy. Despite women contributing immensely to the production and the agriculture of the food for the country women have very little access to land ownership, financial help and ability to get credit. These factors limit their ability to become independent by not letting them create their own businesses and limits women in their potential to reach leadership roles in the agricultural economy.
Another key element that hinders women from reaching leadership and decision-making roles in Guatemala is the lack of quotas in the political system. This lack of requiring women to make up certain number in the government leaves women out of the equation and women are not represented equally in the law creating government.

3.In order to increase equality and full participation of women in public administration at all levels there can be many things to make healthful changes. One thing that would be ideal is to have equal representation of the society in government if half of the population is women then half of the representation in the government should also be women. That means that women would have half of the seats in the Guatemalan congress and half of the seats in the parliament. Men and women should work together to benefit the society as a whole bringing attention to issues that affect all people in the society. Women should be elected officials and be leaders of states and ministries. Women should be represented in all places of power. One thing that can be done in Guatemala would be establishing quotas, requiring women to be present at or over a certain percentage in their political system. Guatemala unfortunately is one of the few countries that lacks the quota requirements in their political system. A reason for requiring expanding the representation of the society in a government can only benefit the people the government is intended for. Moving on to another topic that also holds women back from reaching their full potential in public administration is the violence against women in Guatemala. The high levels of femicide can raise fear in the women of the society, encapsulating and minimizing women's participation and leadership. Further enforcing investigations and prosecution of perpetrators of acts against women would be a start to make women’s public administration more achievable. Another factor that can aid the femicide in Guatemala is having specific law enforcement groups or organizations focus on the violent acts directed towards women. One can assume if a women is feeling more safe and protected by law enforcement and the government she is most likely to be willing to taken on more roles of responsibility and leadership.