HC Deb 15 July 1998 vol 316 cc201-2W
Jackie Ballard

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will make a statement on progress in auditing official statistics to identify gaps in data on gender. [45794]

Ms Ruddock

We need relevant, reliable and timely statistics broken down by gender, comparing all aspects of women's lives and men's lives, to appraise policies for gender differential impacts and to support the process of mainstreaming.

The Government Statistical Service (GSS) aims always to collect and make available statistics disaggregated by gender, except where considerations of practicality or cost outweigh the identified need. All GSS publications contain the name and contact details of a person who can explain which, if any, of the statistics are available by gender and how they can be obtained.

The Brief Guide to Gender Statistics, published jointly by the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Office for National Statistics in March 1998, reviews the existing data, which are disaggregated by gender and identify the gaps. A copy has been placed in the Library.

The newly formed Gender and Statistics User Group will be considering this issue further and identifying what can be done to increase and improve the disaggregation of statistics by gender. This Group was launched on 31 March 1998. Until then, there had been no widely based group looking at the production and reporting of official and other statistics covering gender inequalities. The group includes, among others, representatives from women's national organisations, universities, research centres, the unions and Government Departments.