HC Deb 27 March 1998 vol 309 c318W
Ms Hewitt

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will make a statement about her plans to involve women in the development of Government policies and programmes. [34084]

Ms Ruddock

As Ministers for Women, we are taking forward several initiatives to ensure that women's voices are heard by Government.

We are pleased to announce that we have commissioned a feasibility study for an electronic interactive network to build links between Government and women's organisations.

We have also commissioned a new survey of women on the subject of family friendly employment and childcare.

We have commissioned two pilot women's juries; both juries will be asked the question "what should be done to improve the quality of life for working mothers?"

The results of these initiatives will feed into the policy making process, putting women's voices at the heart of Government. They will run alongside and will complement our ongoing discussions with women's organisations. We are reviewing our existing links with women's organisations in order to strengthen and enhance that dialogue.

We are revising guidance on policy appraisal to ensure that policy makers throughout Whitehall take women's interests into account at all stages of the policy making process.

We aim to ensure that all policy documents, all programmes, all action plans, and all legislative changes include an assessment of their impact on women.