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Females: Public Appointments

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what progress she has made in increasing the proportion of women appointed to public bodies. (253343)

The latest figures, published by Cabinet Office show that, as at 31 March 2008, 33.3 per cent. of all public appointments were held by women. This is a decrease from the previous year. The Government remain committed to ensuring equal representation of women and men on the boards of our public bodies. The latest figures demonstrate more action is needed.

Government are strengthening legislation to support this agenda. The forthcoming Equality Bill will include a broad range of positive action provisions that will allow political parties and public bodies to take a range of steps to encourage involvement among under-represented groups.

The Commissioner for Public Appointments now has the power to take steps to promote diversity in the procedures for making public appointments within her remit. This came into force on 9 October 2008.