§ 36 and 37. Mrs. Castle
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) why it is not proposed to extend the principle of equal pay, recently introduced for certain women medical officers in Hong Kong, to women teachers and other women civil servants in the employment of the Hong Kong Government;
(2) how many women are employed in the Government service in Hong Kong; and how many are receiving equal pay.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod
On 1st January, 1960, 6,696 women were employed in the Government service. Twelve who are medical officers are receiving "equal pay".
The policy of the Hong Kong Government is based on the conclusions and recommendations of last year's Salaries Commission, which narrowed the gap between men's and women's salaries.
§ Mrs. Castle
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Salaries Commission was composed exclusively of men and that women are getting tired of having this stale, old trick foisted on them of appointing an all-male committee in order to establish that there is no case for giving women equal pay with men? Is he also aware that the women education officers of Hong Kong, who have equal professional qualifications with women medical officers, bitterly resent this discrimination? Will he intervene to get this equality for women in Hong Kong?
§ Mr. Macleod
I cannot advise the Governor to disregard the report of the Salaries Commission to Which I have referred. In Hong Kong unequal pay is in fact normal inside and outside the Government Service. In this and all 584 countries it has been a long and slow progress towards equal pay, but I am sure that progress will continue in the professional departments in particular in Hong Kong.
§ Mr. C. Pannell
Is the Minister aware that in the British Civil Service we shall have reached this year equal pay in the public service after a transitional period of seven years? Is he also aware that the Leader of the House is to be the guest of honour at at least one occasion to celebrate this, and why is the right hon. Gentleman, representing the Colonies, going to let down his right hon. Friend?
§ Mr. Macleod
If I am invited to attend a similar dinner, I shall see if I can fit it into my engagements.