Civil servant survey induces gender discussion

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Women account for 50.07 percent of civil servant middle management positions, surpassing men for the first time, according to a study recently released by the Ministry of Civil Service (銓敘部).

Conducted at the end of last month, the study also showed that women accounted for 56.78 percent of low level civil servant positions, while men took up 43.22 percent. For high level positions, men made up 72.83 percent against women at 27.17 percent. As of December last year, civil servants totaled 343,861, with 206,784 men (60.14 percent) and 137,077 women (39.86 percent).

Examination Yuan (考試院) official Chen Jiao-mei (陳皎眉) noted the disparity of women in high-level positions, indicating that women only outnumbered men in lower-level positions, while in most cases there are an equal amount of women being recommended for promotions to higher posts.

Examination Yuan official Chao Li-yun (趙麗雲) stated that two decades ago, women already made up 36.76 percent of civil servants, saying the current situation represents a lack of progress for workplace equality.

Recounting her experience in overseeing the hiring process for the government in 2010, Chen said that 580 people were hired out of 89,149 applicants, of which 198 were men and 382 were women.

“This was the first time I’ve heard the opinion that there needed to be positions reserved for men,” said Chen.

Chen said the trend of more women passing than men continued in various city and county civil servant tests and examinations. This phenomenon has led some to hold the opinion that positions need to be reserved for men.

Chen also explained that although more women were hired, men were hired at the higher percentage of 0.95 percent — 198 hired out of 27,558 male applicants. Women were hired at the lower rate of 0.8 percent, with 382 hired out of 61,591 applicants.

Chen said women outnumbered men simply because more of them applied and took the test.

Chen concluded that reserving positions for men is not the correct solution as men and women must compete on equal grounds based on merit and qualifications.

Recent media reports which said the National Security Bureau, the Bureau of Investigation, and several police departments did not have enough male staff members for required duties have given rise to opinions that the qualification criteria for female officers should be raised.

Chen said that basing hiring restrictions on gender alone is not ideal and that it is better to raise requirements on specific criteria pertaining to the nature of the position. For example, physical conditioning requirements should be raised for positions that demand it, as opposed to limiting some positions to men only.

Chen also said women may not skirt from duties using their gender as an excuse and urged all employers to provide better training and equipment so that workers of both genders may perform their duties.