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Women in Work (Overseas)

Volume 577: debated on Thursday 13 March 2014

8. What discussions she has had with her overseas counterparts on steps to promote the role of women in work internationally. (903041)

We participate in the EU presidency Gender Ministers meetings, which enables us to discuss all the goals in the Europe 2020 strategy and the Beijing platform for action, including women’s employment.

Only yesterday, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Women and Equalities spoke at an international event at the Commission on the Status of Women, organised with the Tanzanian Minister of Equalities, specifically to promote women working in the science, technology, engineering and maths industries.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Although I agree with the Financial Secretary that appointments should be made on merit, does the Minister agree that City regulators’ record on appointing high-calibre women is pathetic, and that if they were to identify those women, that would go a long way to promoting women in work internationally and they would be very good role models?

The hon. Lady is quite right. We definitely need to increase the number of women in senior roles, not only in the City and financial institutions but across the country more generally. This Government have done a huge amount of work with Lord Davies to increase the number of women on boards and we are starting to see a significant increase in the number of women in those positions. At the beginning of this Parliament, the figure was 12.5%; it is now more than 20% and we are on target to hit 25% by next year. I agree with the hon. Lady, however, that this is an important issue that we need to tackle.