LETTERS: Not so Civil

I read with interest and a degree of cynicism your article on women in the Civil Service ("Male mandarins rule UK", 2 June). In 1993 I carried out a survey of government librarians, who are to be found in almost all departments. I received around 400 replies, a response of nearly 70 per cent.

Women make up something over 70 per cent of librarians employed in government. They have the same qualifications as the men, the same degree of experience, and the same level of ambition, and the Civil Service has traditionally been regarded as a good employer in equal opportunities terms. Yet at the time of the survey they made up less than a third of the two most senior grades, and only 57 per cent of the next grade down, being concentrated in the remaining two, lower grades.

If women seem to have trouble getting to the top in an area where they have long been well represented, how easy will they find it in less traditional areas?

Suzanne Burge

London W4