HC Deb 27 November 1974 vol 882 cc415-7
4. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what allocation of funds has been made by his Department and by the United Nations, respectively, for International Women's Year.

Mr. Ennals

As I informed the House on 20th November—[Vol. 880, c. 421.]—we have agreed to make a grant of £10,000 available to the Women's-National Commission to assist in the effective celebration of International Women's Year in the United Kingdom.

The amount to be allocated for International Women's Year by the United Nations from its regular budget is not yet known.

Mrs. Short

Will my right hon. Friend undertake to make representations to the United Nations to be as generous as possible? Will he also make representations to his right hon. Friend the Chancellor to do better than the niggardly amount of £10,000, which will nowhere meet the programme planned by the Women's National Commission, either for the publicity required next year or the hospitality it hopes to offer?

Mr. Ennals

It is not just a matter of making representations to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor about the sum of money. We should have liked to see a larger contribution, but I think that everyone is aware that we are facing extreme financial stringency. This is a sum that is reasonable for the organisation of events in this country. Many voluntary organisations will want to contribute.

One of the greatest contributions that the Government are making lies in the fact that 1975 will be a landmark year for women's rights because of the full implementation of the Equal Pay Act, the new legislation on sex discrimination, and the introduction of equality of rights in pensions and social security.

Mr. Wood

Will the Minister tell me, in case I missed anything, whether there are any plans for an international year for men?

Mr. Ennals

I think that roughly half the world's population has thought that every other year has been an international year for men.

Mr. William Hamilton

Has my right hon. Friend any idea how the money is to be used? Will he tell the House when we are to appoint our first British ambassadress?

Mr. Ennals

We already have a woman high commissioner in Botswana. We also have a number of very senior female diplomatic representatives overseas. The detailed programme of the Women's National Commission is being worked out now and the commission will be having discussions with me about it.

Mr. Kirk

Will the Minister confirm that the European Parliament has written into the European Community budget quite a substantial sum for this purpose? Will the Council of Ministers support the use of that sum for that purpose?

Mr. Ennals

I should need to see a separate Question on the subject to answer that.

Forward to