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International Women's Day

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 25 March 2010

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what plans the Government have to mark International Women’s Day. (320953)

The Government are marking International Women’s Day in a number of ways:

a breakfast meeting at No. 10 with women executives on 8 March;

a Commonwealth Parliamentary Seminar Reception (10 March); and

a Parliamentary topical debate marking International Women’s day in the House of Commons on11 March; and

a reception for International Women’s Day at No. 10 hosted by Sarah Brown on 18 March.

In addition, individual Departments undertook the following to coincide with International Women’s Day:

The Government Equalities Office published:

‘What the Government has done for women’ factsheet;

‘Women’s Representation’ factsheet:

Research report and findings on public attitudes to the representation of women in business and Government;

Government's Response to the Speaker’s Conference; and

Report on the regional ‘Women in Focus’ events which promoted best practice in diverting women from crime (with Ministry of Justice).

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office:

Welcomed the appointment of Minister of State, Baroness Kinnock, as Women’s Officer. Baroness Kinnock will be responsible for leading the Government’s work to tackle violence against women overseas. These are in addition to her responsibilities as Minister of State.

Published a newly developed poster and leaflet designed to raise awareness of FGM. A new e-mail address has also been set up ( for those who have concerns or questions about FGM to use.

The Department for Schools, Children and Families:

Published the report of the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Advisory Group and the Government’s response, including plans to revise training for new teachers and to include VAWG issues in the PHSE curriculum for 2011.

The Home Office:

Announced that a series of laws to protect vulnerable women by reducing the demand for prostitution, including the police no longer having to show kerb-crawlers are “persistent” before arresting them, will come into effect on 1 April.

Held an internal ministerial event on delivering the Gender Equality duty with stakeholders.

The Department for International Development (DFID):

Welcomed Andrea Cornwall, Director of the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment Research Programme, to DFID to share key research findings. Pathways is an international research and communications programme that links academics, activists and practitioners across the globe to explore ways to enhance women’s empowerment.

Screened video clips giving ground level insights and testimonials from women in Ghana and posted these on the DFID website.

Ellen Wratten, Director of Policy and Head of Profession for Social Development at DFID, will be giving a presentation at Plan International’s celebration in Westminster Hall on 8 March on the new joint DFID/NIKE Foundation ‘Girl Hub’ programme that focuses on empowering adolescent girls in developing countries.