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Abstract

Pakistan inherited the British Weberian model at its birth in 1947 (Braibanti, 1966). The Weberian framework is the basis of the professional code of the Pakistani bureaucracy. The Framework highlights the importance of gender neutrality towards ensuring impartiality, promotion of merit and efficiency in organizations. The Pakistani bureaucracy has been categorized as being Weberian by recent research, and hence should be gender neutral. This paper examines if the Pakistani bureaucracy is indeed gender neutral. It inspects the gender norms prevalent in the context of the macro sociocultural environment in Pakistan and finds that these norms are reflected in women’s position in the bureaucracy. Using the perceptions of male and female bureaucrats and ministers as symptomatic evidence, the research deliberates on how the socially determined status hierarchies interact with organizational rules and regulations to perpetuate gender bias and lack of gender neutrality within the bureaucracy. The paper concludes by reinforcing that the bureaucracy operates in a larger social and cultural environment, which is unable to be a socially transformative agent in the case of Pakistan, and hence, is not gender neutral and by consequence, not Weberian.

Note on the Author

Maryam Tanwir has an MPhil and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. She is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre of development studies, University of Cambridge. Her current research examines the performance of performance standards in developing countries. She teaches poverty and International development at ICE, University of Cambridge.

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