Ulster Unionist MLA Michael McGimpsey has hit out at the OFMdFM for a lack of commitment to fair treatment for women.
Speaking following Question Time at Stormont Mr McGimpsey said;
“Today I invited the junior minister at OFMdFM to comment on the lack of commitment to fair treatment for women at senior levels of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
Unfortunately, Jonathan Bell failed to even take the issue seriously, demonstrating all too publicly why OFMdFM has presided over a litany of failure on this issue.
When devolution was restored in 1998 the first ever female Permanent Secretary of any Northern Ireland department was appointed to DCAL, the Department of which I was then Minister. However, even she was brought in from outside the Civil Service!
Fifteen years on, not one of the eleven Northern Ireland departments has a female Permanent Secretary, and indeed only one more female was appointed in the interim period.
This is scarcely credible, as I know from personal experience that there a large number of highly capable female civil servants at senior level who could easily run a department, but who are not being appointed to the top posts.
Northern Ireland must be the only Government in western Europe whose departments are exclusively headed by males and this situation is simply not tolerable.”