Govt wants changes in appraisal form
Female bureaucrats lash out at queries on menstrual history in work review. The govt asks for offensive questions to be deleted.india Updated: Apr 12, 2007 16:26 IST
Women Bureaucrats’ protests against the new appraisal system that asks them to detail their menstrual history, their last menstrual cycle and duration of maternity leaves have found an echo in Delhi. The Women and Child Development Ministry, headed by Renuka Chowdhury, has asked the Department of Personnel and Training to remove the objectionable parts from the appraisal form.
The National Commission for Women has got into the act too, with chairperson Girija Vyas saying: “We have asked for the details. The system doesn’t appear to be proper; we will seek the women officers’ comments before arriving at a final decision.” This follows HT’s report on Wednesday detailing the new appraisal and women bureaucrats’ objections to it.
Maharashtra’s women officers will meet next week to decide whether to send protest letters to the Centre. Their counterparts in the national capital have rallied around them, with “Women and Child Development Secretary Deepa Jain Singh writing to the Ministry of Personnel, objecting to the queries,” said Charusheela Sohoni, secretary, Ministry of Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development. Sohoni herself has dashed off a similar letter to the Secretary of Personnel Satyanand Mishra. “These details are no indicator of fitness for the job,” Sohoni said. Jain Singh told HT: “The form should be amended.” Her letter is backed by complaints from several other women officers.
While Mishra was not available for comment, a senior official from the Prime Minister’s Office said inquiries into the issue had already begun.
Meanwhile, senior officers and public personalities were appalled at the questions in the performance review. “This is an insult to women. We talk of equal status for women but such queries just add to the discrimination,” said Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray. Nationalist Congress Party Rajya Sabha member ” Supriya Sule added: “These queries are humiliating. This doesn’t happen in any workplace.” “The review should be scrapped,” said state Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari. Added Congress leader Dr Vijaya Patil, a gynaecologist: “Nobody asks male officers personal questions. The women officers are within their rights to protest.” Women activists and lawyers were no less outraged. “There is a landmark judgment in the Meera Mathur vs LIC case. The court barred employers from asking such questions. This is just not done,” said lawyer and women’s rights activist Flavia Agnes.
“ We have asked for details. The system doesn’t appear to be proper. Girija Vyas, chairperson, National Commission for Women There is no need to ask for such personal details as they do not indicate whether one is fit for the job. Charusheela Sohoni, secretary, Ministry of Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development.