§ Mrs. Gillan
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what initiatives he has encouraged to improve opportunities for women to progress into senior management positions.
§ Miss Widdecombe
I am convinced that every woman with the necessary inclination, ambition and ability should be allowed a fair and equal opportunity to progress to the highest level possible of her chosen profession. I wholly endorse the aims of the employer-led Opportunity 2000 initiatives, which seeks to enhance the quality and quantity of women's participation in the work force and the Department seeks to be one of the truly exemplary employers in the campaign.
The "New Horizons for Women" initiative promotes a whole range of opportunities for women and publications such as "The Best of Both Worlds" and "Rising to the Challenge" encourage employers to adopt flexible working practices, which can be of benefit to many women with responsibilities beyond the workplace, and to consider the valuable contribution which women have to make to the world of work.