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Women who mean business

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Dr Mo Mowlam, Minister for the Cabinet Office joined forces with The Adelaide Group, a networking forum for women business leaders, yesterday to discuss women's equality.

Speaking about her experience in government and listening to women's views Mo Mowlam said, "We probably all share the belief that our economy will only be truly successful if it properly harnesses the skills and talent of half its population – women. And we probably all agree that there's a long way before that happens."

"Today women make up nearly half the workforce – double the numbers nearly 25 years ago – yet only 3% of the executive directors of Britain's quoted companies are female."

"Of course women are making great strides in getting their voices heard and their talents recognised. The government values women in all their roles – and we have taken action to help women."

"The Government has put together a basic, fair framework of legislation to help employees balance work and the rest of their lives, including new rights to parental leave, improved maternity rights and part-time work regulations."

"We are also working hard to tackle the causes of the pay gap because the average woman still earns less than 18% less than the average man per hour. We are working hard to tackle the causes of the pay gap and stop discrimination."

"Women are best placed to decide what they want to do and as a Government we are committed to supporting these decisions – by listening to women, putting into place flexible structures and facilities to enable them to take up opportunities."

"That's why we launched our biggest consultation ever – Listening to Women last year. 30,000 women took part. This showed that women had many concerns: health incomes, savings, their desire to strike a good work-life balance, education and career advice for girls."

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