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Public Appointments

Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Minister for Women what steps she is taking to encourage more women to apply for public appointments. [130834]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has set a target of between 45 to 50 per cent, women in public appointments made by our Department. This target is supported by a number of initiatives my right hon. Friend has led over the past two years; for example, a national outreach campaign targeted at over 2,000 women from diverse backgrounds. These women are well represented at local and regional level, and have many skills needed to be successful when applying for national appointments.

Our Department also produced a practical guide to enable others to carry on this outreach work and over 3,000 have been distributed. As part of the outreach programme, we have also commissioned research to learn more about what barriers women face when applying for public appointments.