Slow progress in Civil

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Indy Politics
Civil Service cutbacks have hit the promotion prospects of female clerical staff harder than men, according to official figures published yesterday on the 10th anniversary of the first equal opportunity programme in Whitehall, writes Barrie Clement.

The numbers being promoted from administration officer to executive officer, for instance, has fallen from 4 per cent to 2.8 per cent for men and from 3.1 per cent to 2 per cent for women.

While David Hunt, Civil Service minister, expressed some satisfaction with women's equality campaigns, there were still only two women at the most senior grade-one level.

The number of women entering and working in the science, engineering and technical areas of the Civil Service were still low: 10 per cent of the entrants are women and only 2 per cent of current staff.

In the last 10 years the number of women in the Civil Service has increased by 20,000, but that represents an increase of only 3.6 percentage points.

Mr Hunt said about 40 per cent of executive officers, the first management level in the Civil Service, were now women compared with 29 per cent 10 years ago. About 62 women at grade five - senior management level - worked part-time compared with three in 1984. The arrangement allowed women to combine work with their family responsibilities.

Sir Robin Butler, Cabinet Secretary and head of the home Civil Service, said that a target of 15 per cent in those grades by 2000 was now achievable.

He added: "There is far greater awareness ... of the importance of everyone being given the opportunity to fulfil their potential, regardless of background, gender, race or disability."