Staff Correspondent: All major components of the country’s growth and development are being handled by women.
The public administration in Bangladesh has 10 female secretaries now, who are working in major policy-making wings, including the Finance Division and the Economic Relations Division (ERD).
Despite the fact that Bangladesh features a patriarchal society, all major components of the country including monetary mechanisms, economic relations, trade and tariff, industrialization, and planning are being handled by female bureaucrats.
Bangladesh government recently appointed Fatima Yasmin as the first female secretary to the Finance Division under the Ministry of Finance, the main arm for the country’s monetary mechanism.
Fatima Yasmin is set to join her in her new position on July 11. She is currently serving the ERD as secretary.
The post of finance secretary fell vacant when Yasmin’s predecessor, Abdur Rauf Talukdar, was appointed as governor of Bangladesh Bank.
Besides, Sharifa Khan, a member (secretary rank) of the Planning Commission, will be joining Fatima Yasmin’s current post at the ERD as secretary.
Fatima Yasmin, an MBA from IBA, Dhaka University (DU), is a 1991 BCS cadre officer.
In her long career, she worked in various departments of the Ministry of Finance.
Fatima Yasmin also served in the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.
On February 23, 2020, Fatima joined the Ministry of Finance as the first woman secretary of the economic relations department.
Prior to that, she was the vice chairman of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) and director general of the Institute of Public Finance.
She also holds experience working with World Bank, the United Nations, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Islamic Development Bank under ERD.
In this regard, Planning Minister MA Mannan told “It is a very dynamic decision by Bangladesh. The newly appointed senior bureaucrats are going to perform their jobs well because they have already proven their abilities by playing a vibrant role in the public policy making processes. Thus, the government rewarded them.”
He added that women’s participation in bureaucracy has been increasing due to active leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Meanwhile, ERD’s new secretary Sharifa Khan is also a 1991 batch officer of BCS.
Till now she had worked in various posts in the Ministry of Agriculture, Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC), Dhaka Deputy Commissioner’s Office, World Trade Organization (WTO) Cell and Ministry of Commerce.
Sharifa Khan served as a counselor at the Bangladesh High Commission in the United Kingdom from 2011 to 2017.
She has been serving as a member (secretary) of the Bangladesh Planning Commission since February 9, 2021.
Apart from the Finance Division and ERD, female bureaucrats also occupy positions at the Prime Minister’s Office, Planning Commission, Ministry of Industries, and Bangladesh Tariff Commission.
Zuena Aziz has been serving as the principal coordinator (SDG) at the Prime Minister’s Office since 2020.
Zakiya Sultana is serving as the secretary to the Ministry of Industries since May 16, 2021.
Mahfuza Akhter is the chairman (Secretary) of the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission on deputation. She is an officer of the 10th batch of BCS (Administration) cadre.
Prior to joining the current post, she was the Secretary of the Ministry of Social Welfare for about one and a half years.
Another bureaucrat, Mosammat Hamida Begum has been serving as the secretary of the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs since February 14, 2021.
Hamida Begum told that female officers of the administration are constantly proving their qualifications with their talents and skills.
“The presence of women in every level of administration from the top to the grassroots is now quite loud. Gender equality in the administration will be achieved soon if this trend continues,” she added.
On October 31, 2021, Dr Shahnaz Arefin joined the Statistics and Informatics Division of the Ministry of Planning as secretary.
Since August 18, 2021, Dr Nahid Rashid has been serving the Bangladesh Karmachari Kallyan Board (BKKB) as the director general.
She is the 16th director general of the BKKB.
In addition, on 16 May, the government appointed Farhina Ahmed as secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
“The government has kept a great confidence in the female bureaucrats due to their evolving skills and knowledge, ‘’ said prof Dr Taiabur Rahman, Department of Development Studies, DU.
“Hopefully, they can bring a positive change in social development because women are still far behind men in the workforce of the country,” he told.
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