HC Deb 30 April 1998 vol 311 cc211-2W
Mr. Brazier

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will make a statement on her Department's policy towards COM (98) 82 on gender issues. [37000]

Ms Ruddock

It is a priority of this Government to ensure that women's needs and interests are at the heart of Government in all policy development, across all departments.

The Ministers for Women have issued new guidance for policy makers to achieve this objective (often referred to as "mainstreaming"). The guidance will be launched on 18 May at a major conference for senior civil servants and representatives of women's organisations. The guidance is backed up by a new civil service training initiative, and a programme to monitor progress, with regular reports from all departments.

The Regulation on Integrating Gender Issues in Development Cooperation is currently under discussion in the European Community. It will ensure that resources are directly targeted at the pursuit of gender equality in the European Community's development programme. The Government welcome this initiative.

During the UK Presidency of the EU, Department for International Development has made it a priority to improve the effectiveness of the Community's development programmes. As part of this, the UK launched an initiative to review the implementation of the 1995 Gender Resolution to consider what more needs to be done to improve performance and impact in this key area. We expect conclusions on this to be adopted at the May Development Council.