Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
Tackling issues that affect teenage girls, addressing poverty in old ...
Tackling issues that affect teenage girls, addressing poverty in old

age and investigating the pay gap are top of the government's future

agenda for improving the lives of women, it has been announced.

Speaking at the launch of Delivering for Women: Progress so far,

Baroness Jay, minister for women and Tessa Jowell, minister for

public health and commons minister for women, highlighted the key new

policy areas and outlined the government's achievements to date.

Baroness Jay said the new priorities illustrated the Women's Unit's

commitment to work at the heart of government, across departmental

boundaries, to tackle issues of concern to women. This is reinforced

by the unit's move to the cabinet office.

She said:

'We believe that in meeting the aspirations and concerns of

women in their own right we are also benefiting society as a whole.

We have delivered 18 achievements in 18 months and will be looking to

build on this success.

'Girls outperform boys all the way to their mid teens, but they

then fall behind and too many fail to reach their potential. We will

be looking at the challenges facing teenage girls: issues such as

dieting, smoking, alcohol and drug dependency, role models and low

self-esteem to discover why this is.

'For women to reach their full potential in adulthood they must

have self worth as teenagers.'

Baroness Jay added:

'For the first time we will be conducting a complete analysis of

research into women's incomes over a lifetime, giving us detailed

information to inform policies addressing longstanding problems such

as women's poverty in old age and the gender pay gap.'

Minister of state for the cabinet office, Lord Falconer, said:

'The new agenda for women shows a government-wide commitment to

take women's concerns into account in all our policies and plans.'

Announcing the launch of a nationwide consultation exercise,

Listening to Women, Tessa Jowell said:

'We need to listen, and continue to listen, to all women. This

will enable us to be sure that we know what women think so we can

reflect their concerns inside government.' As part of the Listening

to Women exercise, roadshows will be visiting eight regional centres

and there will also be a postcard campaign canvassing the views of

women whose views might not otherwise be heard.

Baroness Jay and Tessa Jowell also signalled their commitment to

continue work on existing policies including:

- Spreading family-friendly employment practices, for example through

the Fairness at Work legislative package, which includes the working

time directive and working in sectors where women form the majority

of employees, like the NHS and retail.

- The publication of a document in the spring setting out the

government's approach to the protection and safety of women,

highlighting good practice, the benefits of inter-agency working, and

setting out a programme of practical measures to achieve this.

- Building on 18 achievements in 18 months. The achievements to date

include the first ever National Childcare Strategy; a Family Friendly

working package; increase in child benefit and legislation allowing

pensions to be shared on divorce.


1. Delivering for Women: Progress so far is a report charting what

has been achieved since the Women's Unit was established eighteen

months ago. The document also fulfils the government's obligation to

report regularly to the UN under the Beijing Platform for Action.

2. The Listening to Women roadshows will be visiting Newcastle,

Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Reading, Bristol, Nottingham and

Norwich over the coming months, in addition to a conference of

Women's Organisations to mark International Women's Day on 8 March

1999. How this might be taken forward in Scotland, Northern Ireland

and Wales is being discussed.

3. The postcard campaign is part of the Listening to Women

initiative. Prepaid postcards will be available through GPs'

surgeries, libraries, citizens advice bureaux and in mass circulation

women's magazines so women can let the government know their views.

4. The Women's Unit website address is

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.