asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will give the reason for an advertisement for a Library Clerk for the International. Affairs Desk which stated that the post was open to both men and women, but that preference might be given to men; and whether he will have this notice withdrawn and re-inserted without this qualification before the closing date on 6th February.
I have been asked to reply.
In 1950 there was only one female in the senior grade and the proportion for the total staff was 14 men to 5 women.
At the present time over half the total Library staff are women, including all the junior Library Clerks. It is therefore desired to recruit a male junior Library Clerk who is more likely to make the Library his permanent career than any of the female staff, all of whom are under 28.
May I ask the hon. Gentleman, whether with a view to the efficient manning of the Library, he will consider all future appointments on merit, other than on sex, or is he considering running a marriage bureau in the Library service?
I have every sympathy with the hon. Lady's point of view, but she will appreciate that the position today is a great deal better than it was a few years ago. On the other hand, she will also appreciate that, in view of the Parliamentary experience and special knowledge required in the Library, a hard core of permanent senior staff must be retained.