Actualité mise à jour le-
Publié initialement le 08 Avril 2019
Mrs. MARIE MADELEINE NGA, Co-ordinator of the National Community-driven Development Program (PNDP), expresses herself through the 369th issue of “Défis Actuels” (Current Challenges).
As a firebrand woman and a role model in terms of women’s promotion/empowerment in the administration, this civil servant strongly believes that women’s integration has registered giant strides as a result of a genuine political willingness.
As a matter of facts, only very few women succeeded in acceding to decision-making positions in the public service just a few years ago. According to you, what is the current situation of women as far as public service is concerned?
First of all, allow me to thank you for having thought of my modest person so that we exchange, together, our views on the current situation of women in the Cameroonian administration against the backdrop of the celebration of the International Women’s Day. As to the question, you have just asked, permit me to make a difference between two types of public administrations, namely: the municipal administration to which I am so close and interact on a daily basis, on the one hand, and the central administration, on the other hand. With regard to the first case, it is worth mentioning that two (02) regions out of ten (10) in our country are yet to be provided with women mayors. By contrast, the eight (08) other regions rightly showcase the vitality associated with the presence of competent, politically committed and visionary women at the helm of our municipalities. In this connection, one can rightly hail the remarkable rise of Mrs. KETCHA Courtès Célestine who left indelible footprints in her capacity as the Mayor of Bangangté and who, as a result of the confidence bestowed on her by the Head of State, H.E. Paul Biya, was recently appointed Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs during the last Government reshuffle of January 2019. In the same vein, I should equally salute the selection of the Council of Angossas which is headed by Mrs. TITSOL Anne Marie in her capacity as the Mayor of the said locality; it worth noting that the said council was awarded the best prize in terms of local governance in the East Region under the 2018’s Performance Desk.
As to the central administration, I urge you to consider the number and quality of women appointed Secretaries-General of ministries, knowing pertinently that a Secretary-general is the administrative boss of a ministry. I do not count the number of directors in the central administration as well as that of women holding the positions of General Managers at the helm of State corporations such as: SNI, API, SRC, Sopecam, BC-PME, Bucrep, Mipromalo, Camtel, CSPH and CCAA., to name but a few.. To that number, one could also add the list of women appointed as co-ordinators of projects and programs implemented in our country. Furthermore, it should be underscored that women have been witnessing an unprecedented leapfrog as Senior Divisional Officers in the divisions of Koung-Khi and MVILA, respectively. Women equally hold decision-making positions such as colonels in the army and chief superintendents in the police administration. Women are increasingly represented in the university administration. If you were to add all these achievements to the efforts geared towards attaining men and women equality/parity in the Parliament and Municipal Councils, you may have a glimpse of what has been done so far; which undoubtedly means that the future bodes well as far as women empowerment/promotion is concerned.
But, despite such great strides registered in the Cameroonian administration, don’t you have the impression that the Cameroonian administration continues to be largely dominated by men?
It would be unfair to hold such a point of view! As a matter of fact, an emphasis should be laid on the preceding situation whereby women did not have any say at all, especially in the 1960s, in order to fully apprehend the current situation. It is worth mentioning that significant strides have been registered, especially when one refers to the analysis of statistical data carried out in 2019. Such efforts undoubtedly derive from the Government’s choice which, in its turn, stems from the Head of State’s strong resolve to empower the Cameroonian women in various areas such as the Army and Police, to name but a few. That notwithstanding, it is obvious that a lot still remains to be done.
What impediments, according to you, hamper women’s promotion in the administration?
Certain socio-cultural specificities likely to be considered as major impediments could explain the prevailing state of affairs. For instance, I can cite some regions in which the weight of our customs and traditions is such that women are automatically relegated to back-office duties, whereas front-office duties are exclusively earmarked for men. Similarly, one may put forward the ugly situation faced by girl children both in rural and urban areas. More specifically, such girls hardly go through their studies, inasmuch as some handicaps such as early and/or unwanted marriages as well as other negative factors largely prevent them from furthering their school and academic careers, thereby strongly compromising their future.
How do you explain the fact that women seldom hold top-ranking or sovereign positions in the government?
I do hope that I share with you the same understanding of what you rightly term top-ranking or sovereign positions. Even though the general feeling holds that there has been an imbalance/inequality in the composition of the various governments since 1971, especially with the appointment into the government of Mrs. de Delphine Tsanga as Deputy-Minister in charge of Public Health and Population, it is worth mentioning the great strides recorded during the last decades. For instance, Mrs. Dorothy Njeuma was appointed vice-Minister of National Education in 1975. The appointment, in 1983, of Mrs. Elisabeth Tankeu as vice-Minister of the Plan and Industry marked a turning point in the history of our country, inasmuch as she became the full-fledged Minister of the Plan and Regional Development as from 1988. Since then, the number of ladies such as Yaou Aïssatou, Rose Zang Nguele, Isabelle Bassong and Catherine Eko Ngomba who paved the way for other women ministers, kept on increasing in other sectors.
However, the focus on some sector-based regalian ministries such as Justice, Defense, External Relations, Territorial Administration, should not be overlooked, thereby preventing one from watering down the significant leapfrogs recorded in our country as far as the management of decidion-making positions is concerned. Let me once again refresh your memory on the fact that it is a woman who is at the helm of the highly sensitive Ministry in charge of the Supreme State Audit. In the same vein, the issue of cyber-criminality which is currently considered as one of the major worldwide challenges, and even a sovereign area, is placed under the emblematic authority of Mrs. Minette Libom Li Likeng.
Do you think your career may serve as an example to women who have been yearning for holding decision-making positions?
Yes, I do modestly believe that the career that was mine at the public service and at the helm of the Program may rightly be considered as a source of inspiration to other young women who have been yearning for working in the public service and in the private sector in general, and to those who expect to hold executive positions in particular. There are two reasons for that. The first one stems from the fact that it is possible, through hard work, to enjoy the renewed confidence and/or trust bestowed on a worker by his/her hierarchy; the second one lies in the fact that it is possible to transmit the precious values one has been advocating for to those who are accountable to us. As far as I am concerned, such values should refer to: performance, respect for hierarchy or subordination, good governance and ethics, faithfulness or loyalty, team spirit and fear of God.