Women’s participation in the civil administration has increased a lot over the years, according to statistics of the ministry of public administration.A total of 106 women Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNOs) have been working in field administration across the country.Besides, 10 secretaries, six deputy commissioners and 16 additional deputy commissioners are working in the administration: all women.Public administration ministry statistics also show the participation of women officials all across the government is increasing gradually.There were some 274,114 women in government service in 2009 and the number increased to 378,354 in 2015.There are 5,759 officials in the administration cadre of the civil service. Of them, 1,100 are women.The participation of women at the grassroots level is increasing day by day. Earlier, women officials were based mostly in Dhaka. Now women officials have been discharging their duties at the district and upazila levels.The number of upazilas is 491. There are full time UNOs in 428 upazilas. Of them, 106 are women UNOs.In some districts, the majority of upazilas have women UNOs. Eight upazilas out of 13 in Kishoreganj have women UNOs and there are eight women UNOs out of 12 in Tangail.Former advisor to the caretaker government, Rasheda K Chowdhury, considers women’s participation in the administration as positive.Speaking to Prothom Alo, she said women’s development and achievement in Bangladesh is now visible to the world. But the participation of women in decision-making is still not significant, she noted.Rasheda K Chowdhury said the posts of DC and UNO in decision-making at the grassroots levels are vital. “I see the participation of women in those posts as positive.”Some women UNOs said they are working hard and sincerely, and are not facing any trouble.Mymensingh district’s Eshwarganj upazila UNO, Mitu Mariom said, “I do not face any trouble as a woman. Rather I get cooperation at different levels.”Out of 64 districts, there are women DCs in Sirajganj, Faridpur, Laxmipur, Munshiganj, Pabna and Natore. Out of eight divisions, a woman is in charge as divisional commissioner in Sylhet division.DC of Sirajganj, Kamrun Nahar Siddique, said DCs have to work under pressure. “I, however, have managed it well. I do not feel pressured in particular as a woman.”Till 31 October there were 206 additional deputy commissioners. Of them, 16 were women. The Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) Women’s Network has been advancing the cause of women officials.According to the public administration ministry, there are 10 women secretaries out of 78 secretarial posts of equal rank as of 2 November. This is the highest number of women secretaries in recent times.13 per cent of secretaries are women. They are: senior secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Suraiya Begum, women and children affairs ministry secretary, Nasima Begum, director general of Planning and Development Academy, Kaniz Fatema, rural development and cooperatives division secretary, Mafruha Sultana, Public Service Commission secretary, Aktari Mamtaz, managing director of Bangladesh Hi-tech Park Authority, Hosne Ara Begum, member of planning commission, Joyna Aziz, labour and employment secretary, Afroza Khan, expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment secretary, Nomita Halder, and planning commission member, Shamima Nargis.Speaking to Prothom Alo, public administration ministry senior secretary, Md Mozammel Haque Khan, said the present government has taken various steps for the advancement of women, including a higher budget allocation for women in government. Participation of women has certainly increased.The senior secretary claimed the administration has become more dynamic due to women’s participation.Mozammel Haque hopes the participation of women in government will be equal at one stage.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.