HC Deb 23 April 1923 vol 163 cc69-71W

asked the Postmaster-General whether the re-organisation schemes in his Department are yet agreed and, if so, what steps have been taken during regrading to put into operation Clause 2 of the Resolution of the House on 5th August, 1921, as to equality of opportunity in the Civil Service; what branches employing Treasury classes, hitherto closed to women, have now been opened to them; in which branches has segregation been abolished; what efforts have been made to ensure that women shall have an opportunity of training in the higher work of the Department, and what has been done to give women an opportunity of employment on executive work other than in executive posts mainly involving supervision of staff; whether any branches in which women were employed in August, 1921, have now been entirely closed to them; and whether any women and, if so, how many and of what grades are now employed in the Secretary's Department?


All the schemes for the Headquarter Departments have now been agreed. In connection with the regrading of work, the practicability of affording women equality of opportunity with men, and of admitting women to branches hitherto closed to them, was borne constantly in mind; and substantial steps in these directions were taken. For example, a woman establishment officer has been appointed to the secretary's office to deal with staff and establishment questions which primarily or exclusively affect the female staff of the Post Office; in the Accountant-General's Department the staff work in connection with the women's branches has recently been transferred to a women's staff section, and in this Department it has further been arranged that, for training purposes, a number of women shall be employed on duties in the men's branches andvice versa; in the London telephone service women, as well as men, are now employed in the accounts branch on rental correspondence duties, which were formerly allotted to men only; in the Savings Bank Department the reorganisation scheme provides for the transfer to women of duties previously performed by men in the quarterly balance, acknowledgment, and inquiry office branches in the Engineer-in-Chief's Office, the Stores Department and the Central Telegraph Office the schemes provide for the employment of women for the first time. These steps do not represent the limit of the possibilities in connection with the extension of the employment of women; the matter is one which is kept constantly under review, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman may rest assured that every suitable opportunity will be taken to give effect to the House of Common's Resolution to which he refers. Although it is the case that most of the higher grade posts in the women's establishments have been created primarily for the supervision of subordinate staff, there are a number of duties which will consist largely of executive work. In several Departments temporary arrangements were made during the War to employ women in branches previously staffed by men; and the withdrawal of these women had not in every case been completed in August, 1921. In the Secretary's office there are employed, in addition to the woman establishment officer and the typing staff, one woman clerk higher grade and five women clerks.

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