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Strengthening Women's Voices in Government

Volume 535: debated on Monday 7 November 2011

The “Strengthening Women’s Voices in Government” consultation exercise was undertaken between 7 March and 15 June 2011. The consultation set out proposals for a new approach to engaging and listening to women, and invited views and feedback on the proposals.

The consultation set out the principles for the new approach, which are:

Women across the UK can be heard and are enabled to influence and shape Government policy;

The new approach must be genuinely cross-Government and Departments are committed to listening to women, taking their views into account, and feeding back the results, and

Women know what central Government are doing across the breadth of policies and are able to act on that knowledge.

The new approach should transform the way in which women’s voices are brought to Government, delivering an engagement framework which is direct, inclusive and transparent.

A total of 1,229 responses were received, of which 1,166 were from people responding online, with the remaining 63 being submitted as a written response. An estimated 600 people attended consultative events and fed back their views about the proposals.

The consultation asked for views on the most important or challenging issues facing women in the UK today. The top priorities identified were:

Issues relating to the workplace, and women’s experience of work including promotion; better work-life balance; child care and setting up a business.

Tackling violence against women and girls;

A strong appetite for greater equality for women;

Access to leadership positions, both in politics and business;

More engagement with women, including with senior women in business/women entrepreneurs.

Moving forward, we will consider a cross-Government programme of action and encourage participation from a wide and diverse range of women and women’s organisations.

A copy of the consultation response is available in the Library of the House.