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Women and Equalities Committee

Volume 620: debated on Thursday 2 February 2017

7. If he will bring forward proposals to change the name of the Women and Equalities Committee to the Equalities Committee. (908563)

The Government currently have no plans to bring forward proposals to change the name of the Women and Equalities Committee. I have received no representations from the Committee to make such a change. Should the Women and Equalities Committee recommend such a change, the Government would consider it in consultation with the Procedure Committee.

Every single departmental Select Committee is named after the Department it scrutinises. I am also on the Justice Committee, which scrutinises the Ministry of Justice. The only exception is the Women and Equalities Committee, which shadows the Government Equalities Office. Surely this Committee should be called the Equalities Committee. If the Deputy Leader of the House does not agree, will he tell us why women’s issues cannot be included in a Committee called the Equalities Committee?

I suggest that my hon. Friend approach the Chair of the Select Committee of which he is a valued member and invite her to write to the Leader of the House. The matter will be considered in the normal way.

Is my hon. Friend at all worried that members of, for example, the black and minority ethnic or the gay and lesbian communities, might feel that the title of the Committee suggests it will be giving priority to the concerns of women over their own concerns?

I gently say that achieving gender equality is good for everyone. For example, the introduction of shared parental leave allows men to take time away from the workplace to bond with their new children. There are issues to be addressed for women, as discussed in this place earlier today. Names of Committees are a matter for the House and are considered with the Procedure Committee in the normal way.

Will the Minister confirm whether he has received any representations from anyone from a BME community about their happiness or otherwise of the title of the Women and Equalities Committee? As a member of the BME community, may I say that I am very happy with the name of the Women and Equalities Committee?

The hon. Lady’s contentment has been noted. No such representations have been made. If any are made, they will be considered very carefully.