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Women and Equalities written question – answered on 18th July 2013.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what recent steps she has taken to ensure that women fulfil their potential.

Photo of Helen Grant Helen Grant The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

We are taking strong action to ensure women are able to fulfil their potential. The Children and Families Bill currently going through Parliament will extend the right to request flexible working to all by 2014 and encourage shared parenting through a new system of parental leave. Measures taken in the Budget 2013 will mean that more than a million low-paid women will be lifted out of income tax and families will get more help with their child care costs.

As a result of the recommendations made by Lord Davies, women now account for 17.4% of FTSE 100, and 13.8% of FTSE 250 board directorships, up from 12.5% and 7.8% respectively in February 2011. As of this month, there are now only five all-male boards in the FTSE 100. We are also working with employers to ensure greater transparency on issues such as pay and progression through ‘Think, Act, Report’. Over 110 leading businesses have signed up to this initiative, covering over 1.8 million employees.

In addition, the Women's Business Council, set up by Government in 2012, published its report last month with recommendations focusing on the key areas they have identified where girls and women face particular barriers to fulfilling their potential, from making informed choices made about education through to ensuring the knowledge and skills of older women are not lost to the economy. Government has published its response to the report which, alongside a series of early actions for Government, announced that the Secretary of State for Women and Equalities will be working with ministerial colleagues to produce a Government action plan. The report and the Government response can be found at:


Additionally, Ministers have recently spoken at events about the need for more women to apply and take on public appointment roles and are working to ensure that this happens.

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Douglas Milnes
Posted on 31 Jul 2013 4:23 pm (Report this annotation)

This question was asked at a time when over a third of a million more men were unemployed - not fulfilling their potential - than women.