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KP government directs male staff not to contact female officers


News Analysis |

In the latest development, the male employees of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Department have been barred from contacting female teachers in the province via mobile phone or social media. According to media reports, a “high-level meeting” of the education department decided that all staff members — from the junior clerk to the superintendent — working in the offices of female District Education Officers (DEO) “will not contact any female teacher in connection with any official matter/issue” through telephone or WhatsApp.

A notification has also been issued in this regard and it has been sent to all departments and schools by the KP Directorate of Elementary & Secondary Education in Peshawar. In addition, “no such thing will be shared on social media/Facebook” by the male staff members of the ministerial cadre. This was imperative to introduce now since some indecent photos were being shared by the male staffers to the female officers.

Many sexual harassments and sex crime victims were silenced and now they are themselves serving in various positions both in the faculty and administration in the educational institutions.

Furthermore, in KP, female DEOs are responsible for girls’ schools and male DEOs for boys’ schools. All such communication with the female staff or teachers of schools will be carried out by female officers or officials working in the DEO offices in future. In case any male clerk or officer is reported to have violated this directive, the concerned female DEO “will be held responsible” and dealt with in accordance with the relevant rules, the notification said. Earlier officers sent some indecent and unnecessary messages to female staffer which resulted in a severe social problem in a conservative society like KP where women are generally kept away from men.

It is important to note that sexual harassment against women at educational institutions is reported across the country. Experts believe that since the country is a male-dominated society, therefore, women have to remain silent. According to one reliable research, only a few sexual harassment and sex crime cases are reported but many cases go unreported and beyond this state of affairs, reasons are so many; a hostile social attitude against girls/ women, and denial of social and administrative justice. Many sexual harassments and sex crime victims were silenced and now they are themselves serving in various positions both in the faculty and administration in the educational institutions.

Read more: How to protect women from sexual harassment?

Analysts believe that there are laws in the country to protect women from such inhumane crimes but it is the responsibility of the state to make those laws effective. Very often it is seen that due to ineffective legal process and the fear of social backlash women decide not to disclose their attackers. Therefore, the government is encouraged to look into the issue and formulate policies accordingly.

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