Examination of Witnesses (Questions 140-144)|
UK RESOURCE CENTRE
2 MARCH 2005
Q140 Mr Evans: Are women saying that
as well as men?
Ms Wall: On the whole it is men
who say that because it is men we are training because we are
training and working with areas where women are under-represented.
Q141 Mr Evans: You must find women saying
ityou know, "I do not think women should be in planning
Ms Wall: We previously heard our
colleagues talking about the image, so that is a feature, absolutely,
Q142 Mr Evans: You think it is being
effective in any event in changing the cultural behaviour attitude
which the Chairman has spoken about.
Ms Wall: Yes, I think it is very
much. The evaluation that we have hadwe have a lot of evaluation
from JIVEwould indicate that people are actually changing
their attitudes and their views. But, within that, I think a lot
of the legislation behind it and the policy behind it is quite
a driving factor as well. Since the Adult Learning Inspection
is focusing more on equality and diversity measuresand
the learning structures, the Learning and Skills Councils, etceterapeople
are responding more to having to do things. I actually think the
role of legislation is going to be very valuable: the more legislation
that can be brought in, it will make our hand much stronger on
Ms Williams: Just to add to that,
I think it needs to follow through into all the processes and
practices. For instance, initial teacher training for lecturers,
particularly for the post-16 sector, needs to include equality
and diversity a lot more. Similarly, Connexions training of personal
advisers needs a lot stronger emphasis on occupational desegregation
and how to put that into practice, so that the practitioners actually
coming newly into post are equipped to deal with the cultural
changes and can overcome some of those barriers to women rather
than perpetuate them.
Ms Butcher: We are very keen to
try to ensure mainstreaming. As you will appreciate, much of the
work that our own efforts have been in over the past 20 years
has been through the voluntary sector and through small and piecemeal
and short-term public funding. At this stage, with the strategic
direction of government funding for the support for UKRC, we do
enjoy a much more central position and much greater levers. Nevertheless,
a lot of the work on the ground is still going on in these very
patchy ways. We would really welcome from those mainstream institutionsbe
it the Connexions service or the Adult Learning Inspectorate's
leverage or the providers that would help through learning provision,
and then, equally, through the employment sectorthe requirement
to work with gender and equality and diversity experts where they
can be found. That brings with it a sort of pincer movement, so
that what is happening on the ground can be connected up from
the policy level, particularly at a regional level, where I think
there are gaps between national policy and that for which regional
bodies take responsibility.
Ms Wall: It absolutely needs to
find ways of being able to measure it as well. Although a lot
of organisations will have policies around these areas, I think
we need to have the provision to be able to measure and find evidence.
Jane mentioned the Adult Learning Inspectorate: they need to be
able to see evidence of what is happening within organisations.
For all public documentation, be it around developing a city centre
or a university, or a business plan or a college's business plan
for one department, we need to have a gender perspective, so that
it can be measured and looked at by people who are scrutinising
these activities. Otherwise, we do not know what is happening.
Q143 Judy Mallaber: You have talked about
coordination and you mentioned that science and technology has
a distinct strategy almost from the DTI Woman and Equality Unit's
strategy. Obviously some other departments are also involved within,
for example, the JIVE Project. Do you see any signs at all of
any coordination with the government sector on the issue of occupational
Ms Williams: There is some. The
UK Resource Centre came out of the recommendations from the Government
Strategy for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology. Unfortunately,
that is seen as a very separate strategy from the Occupational
Segregation Strategy which I think is currently being developed.
Whilst I think there is some tie up, we would certainly like to
see a lot closer connection, because obviously the under-representation
of women in SET is fundamentally about occupational segregation.
I think there has been this distinction somehow made between craft
level work somehow fulfilling an occupational segregation definition,
and the under-representation of women in SET somehow being seen
as something different. I think the whole agenda needs to be brought
together. We would certainly like to see closer working, so that
occupational segregation is something interpreted across the whole
of the areas where women are under-represented, which is SET and
construction, and applies to all of the levels, from craft right
through to higher senior professional levels. The knock-on effect
of that is also that funding is created into silos as well. For
instance, the Department for Work and Pensions currently manages
the European funding, and there are various opportunities within
that to tackle occupational segregation. The Equal Funding which
is currently funding JIVE and is also offering us continued funding
until 2007, is specifically an opportunityand it is often
quite a large amount of moneyfor innovative projects that
tackle occupational segregation, but that is not currently joined
up with the Government Strategy for Women in SET or the Occupational
Segregation Strategy which is emerging. Because we are now in
more of a central position, as the UK Resource Centre, we have
an opportunity to point those things out, I think, to government,
but a more serious alignment of funding and strategies would certainly
create a far stronger coalition of initiatives and would really
support the strategy which we are trying to deliver.
Judy Mallaber: Do you have any specific
recommendations on tackling occupational segregation that you
would like us to make as a Committee?
Q144 Chairman: If I might intrude here,
it would be helpful to us if you could write us a note on this.
I am conscious that we are up against the barrier of time, even
though I do not want you to stop talking. Perhaps you could do
a note for us on this area, because it is one of the things on
which we can move Government. We cannot necessarily win the hearts
and minds of British industry but we can make life uncomfortable
for Government and any bullets you can serve up for us we are
happy to fire.
Ms Butcher: There is a need to
get SET-specific information from generally looked at equality
and diversity surveys, in particular, because often we can get
perverse results. I will illustrate that: the WEU's recent report,
for example, gives quite a different picture from that which applies
in SET occupations.
Judy Mallaber: If you could give us some
action points, it would be great. We want to move from description
to prescription, so we are looking for key action points.
Chairman: I am sorry if we appear rude,
but we have had fairly lengthy sessions this morning. The problem
really is that we have come up against the buffers of time. We
should really have finished at half-past 11, the rules of the
House say that, but we wanted to get you in this morning. Perhaps
you could send us that note. You have been very generous with
your materials, and we appreciate that, but perhaps you could
send us a note of anything else if, when you walk out, you say,
"Damn, I should have said that." Alternatively, we will
probably have the same reaction, so we will be in touch with you.
We are very grateful to you for coming. As I say, I am sorry that
we seem rather brusque, and I hope you do appreciate that it is
not rudeness on our part. Thank you very much.