02 Mar 2018


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) have recognized the utility and effectiveness of the UN system ‘delivering as one’. By effectively leveraging mandates and capacities, UNDP and UN Women are together prepared to support efforts to accelerate progress towards women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in public institutions, a prerequisite for sustainable development.

Since 2011, UNDP’s Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) global initiative has conducted 15 in-depth country case studies on GEPA. The Pakistan case study is one of two countries to have been conducted using a new methodology developed in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Pakistan case study on GEPA explores the development of women’s representation and access to decision-making roles in the civil service. The case study then surveys women in the public administration to explore their perception of barriers and opportunities to identify insights into discrepancies between policy and implementation. The study additionally proposes targeted policy and programmatic interventions to address the key challenges to increasing women’s participation and leadership in public administration. The purpose is to support the Government of Pakistan, with the support of UN Women, UNDP and other development partners, to develop evidence-based programming to address barriers to gender equality in the public administration.

The GEPA case study is particularly important and relevant to the Government of Pakistan’s commitment to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) because of the sheer size of the public sector and the perception of public institutions as potential entry points to the labour market for women. The public sector is the largest in terms of wage employment in Pakistan. Any policy measure directed towards improving women’s participation and leadership in public administration will therefore not only have a sizeable impact on the public sector but also on the labour force as a whole and on women’s economic empowerment.

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