To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of progress made by Connexions in encouraging girls into non-traditional occupations; and what steps he is taking to ensure further progress.
This is a deep-rooted and intransigent problem which will require action on a number of fronts and we do not have evidence of the impact of Connexions in isolation. The Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Select Committee report: "Jobs for the Girls: Two Years On", published in February this year, recognised that progress had been made but stressed the importance of careers advice and work experience in achieving our gender equality aims—recommending that more resource should be allocated to this.
We know, therefore that there is much more to be done and we are planning a range of measures which will make clear our expectations on countering gender stereotyping and seek to embed good practice. Connexions services will continue to play a key role. From April of this year local authorities will commission and manage local information, advice and guidance services. The new Quality Standards for young people's information, advice and guidance published last autumn set out our expectations of the services that will be delivered—including emphasising the importance of challenging gender stereotypes and limited career aspirations.