[EDITORIALS]New power, new strengthThe number of women who passed the 48th government examination for senior civil service positions in administration recorded the highest in history, 38.4 percent of the total; the highest scorer was also a woman. As all positions in education administration were occupied by women, three male applicants were employed in addition, following the rule of giving equal employment chances to both sexes by setting a minimum number of positions as a quota.
Moreover, the women’s ratio among successful candidates has increased by 5 percent annually. If this trend continues, it will be over 40 percent next year.
Women’s advancements into senior civil service positions means that women occupy positions that handle enormous amounts of budget. As there were many civil servants who engaged in irregularities or idled their time away, people’s view of them was cynical. And their evaluation of civil servant organizations was: “Nothing is possible, nor is anything impossible.”
The massive advance of women into senior government positions provides a chance to change the culture of civil service organizations. The ratio of women among mid-level civil servants will grow, and they will eventually occupy such high posts as minister and vice minister in the future.
Now, our task is letting female officials exert their ability to the maximum. The first step is ensuring they are not disadvantaged by traditional sexual discrimination when they are assigned to posts and given duties. If they do not go through the training of learning important tasks, they will hit the glass ceiling quickly.
According to the 2004 statistical annals of the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, women occupy 10.8 percent of grade 6 civil servants, but only three are in grades 1 and 2. Kim Song-ja, who was appointed vice minister of labor in 2001, was the first and the last woman so far to reach that high. Female civil servants’ promotion to higher positions should not be blocked.
Our society has started to change, not only in special fields such as culture and sports, but also in education, business and professional occupations.
If our national power was limited to men in the past, now we can unfold a whole new national power combining that of men and women. We must encourage this new atmosphere to grow strong.