HC Deb 30 November 1939 vol 355 cc244-5
56. Mr. David Adams

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the severe increase in infantile mortality during the last war, special observations are being made for the protection of the health of women in industry; and in what circumstances the Government's permission must be sought with regard to the working of overtime by women, and upon what principle this permission is granted?

Sir J. Anderson

The War Cabinet Committee on Women in Industry reported in 1919 that the influence of employment upon the infant mortality rate was not alťogether clear, but observed that the rates were low in 1916 and 1917 when a continually increasing number of married women was being employed. Special observation will, however, be kept, in consultation with the Industrial Health Research Board, on the working conditions of women and others in factories during ťhe war. As regards women's hours of work, the hours which are being authorised, while varying according to circumstances, are far shorter than those which were commonly worked in the last war and they are being kept under constant review.

Mr. Adams

Are we to understand from that answer that the Minister grants permission in certain cases for excessive hours?

Sir J. Anderson

Yes, Sir.

Mrs. Tate

Is my right hon. Friend aware that no observations will be worth anything until women are given wages comparable with those given to men, and that, when that is done, the observations will be reliable?