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Economic Councils (Women Members)

Volume 720: debated on Thursday 18 November 1965

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13.

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs whether he will appoint some women to economic boards or councils; and if he will take into consideration the fact that members are yet to be appointed for the South-East Region.

My right hon. Friend has already appointed some women to these councils. In appointing council members my right hon. Friend's first consideration is the contribution which they seem likely to make to the work.

While appreciating that the Minister has very sound reasons for his reply, may I point out that so far no women at all have been appointed to any of the boards and that only three women have been appointed to the councils, one in the East Midlands, one from Yorkshire and one, I think, from Wales? It is hardly a sensible reflection of the ability of the women in our country and of the policy.

With regard to the boards, I am sure that the hon. Lady will recognise that except for the chairmen, who are appointed by my right hon. Friend, the other members are the representatives of the Departments in Whitehall. I do not think that in these matters—being rather a feminist myself—one should necessarily take sex into consideration in making these appointments. One should appoint the best person for the job.