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Women stay at home

Peking - The Chinese capital may be hosting this year's World Conference on Women, but Michael Heseltine has left the fairer sex at home for Britain's biggest trade mission, writes Teresa Poole.

In the glossy brochure, 131 faces beam out from the list of top-level company representatives - all men. About a dozen other company executives (male) have also joined the group. Apart from government officials, one woman was seen getting off the mission's specially chartered airliner - an interpreter.

That leaves Sunny Crouch, public relations director for the London Docklands Development Corporation, who is bravely flying in to join the boys for the Shanghai leg of the trip later this week. Rumour also has it that British Telecom may have brought in Karen Yip, a marketing manager from its Hong Kong subsidiary. Women, Chairman Mao said, hold up half the sky - but not on British trade missions.