HC Deb 24 April 1969 vol 782 cc632-3
6. Sir B. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he is aware that in Russia one engineer in three is a woman whereas in Great Britain the comparable figure is one in 500; and what plans he has to improve the situation during the next few years as regards providing facilities for women engineers and encouraging them to enter that profession.

The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mrs. Shirley Williams)

I am well aware of these figures. University and further education establishments have places available for women to study engineering, and they welcome applicants. The Government are spending nearly £100,000 a year in publicity to encourage young people to take up engineering, and a "Women in Engineering Year" was launched last month specifically to encourage women to consider this profession.

Sir B. Janner

I thank my hon. Friend for her Answer, but is it not a fact that women in other countries have proved to be extremely efficient in the engineering profession? Cannot she get some kind of propaganda going by means of which girls in secondary schools and universities will come to realise that it is a profession in which they can adapt themselves and be very useful?

Mrs. Williams

I could hardly be a greater ally of my hon. Friend. We deprecate any suggestion to girls at school that they should drop the science subjects at an early stage, as happens very often in some schools. Secondly, we hope that we shall get the maximum coperation from industry to make places available to women as well as to men.