Headlines: November 10th, 1998

A pre-paid postcard campaign is one of the features of the Listening to Women initiative launched by the Government.They will be available through GPs’ surgeries, libraries, Citizens Advice Bureaux and in mass circulation women’s magazines so that women who might otherwise not be reached can let the Government know their views.

There will also be a Listening to Women roadshow visiting eight regional centres and a conference of women’s organisations in March next year.

It follows the announcement by the Government on its progress so far on women’s issues since coming to power, and also of its prioritisation of which women’s’ issues to tackle.

These have been set out as: issues that affect teenage girls, poverty in old age and the pay gap for women workers.

Baroness Jay, Minister for Women, said: “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 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.”

She said the Women’s Unit’s move to the Cabinet Office was a sign its issues were at the heart of Government, working across departmental boundaries, to tackle issues of concern to women.

The Women’s Unit has launched its own website, at www.women-unit.gov.uk