Hong Kong (Assistant Director of Social Welfare)

Oral Answers to Questions — Technical Co-Operation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th June 1964.

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Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn 12:00 am, 25th June 1964

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation what assistance his Department has given to the Government of Hong Kong in the recruitment of an Assistant Director of Social Welfare.

Mr. Carr:

My Department advertised the forthcoming vacancy. Applications are now being considered by the Government of Hong Kong.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this advertisement specifies that the applicant must be a male? Is he further aware that the qualifications required for the post are experience in family and child welfare, youth work, care of old people and social welfare generally? Is it not clear that women are exceptionally well qualified for this kind of post? Is it not outrageous that sex discrimination of this kind should operate in a British Colony? Will his Department refuse to give assistance in future if such discrimination is involved?

Mr. Carr:

I am sure that we should not refuse to give assistance of this kind. It is for the Governments in these territories to decide what they want. We have no prejudice against as many ladies as possible doing technical assistance work. I will make sure that the hon. Lady's views are conveyed to the Governor. Perhaps she and other hon. Ladies may pay him a persuasive visit.

Photo of Mr Anthony Royle Mr Anthony Royle , Richmond (Surrey)

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Government of Hong Kong employ many women, take great trouble to recruit them, and have done so for many years?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is not the first example of sex discrimination by the Hong Kong Government, who refuse to operate the principle of equal pay in their service? Is it not a matter of direct interest to the right hon. Gentleman's Department that there should be a willingness to take advantage of all kinds of experience by either sex from whatever quarter in the great fight to lift social standards in backward areas?

Mr. Carr:

I agree with the hon. Lady's statement about the general position. Later on I shall make clear, I hope, that we want more women to help us with important work overseas.