§ Mr. Donohoe
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures his Department has implemented during the last 12 months to encourage the promotion of women into senior positions with his Department and its executive agencies; and what progress his Department has made in encouraging the promotion of women over the last five years. 
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
My Department and its agencies continue to strive to improve the opportunities for women at all levels in the organisation, and though we recognise that we still have far too few women in senior positions, there are clear signs that the position is improving. For example, in each of the last three years almost a quarter of those promoted to grade 5 level in the administration group were women, compared with 9 per cent. in 1991 an nil in 1992.
Initiatives aimed at improving opportunities for women in my Department and its agencies include: the provision of nursery facilities; career breaks and flexible working; equal opportunities training for promotion board members; positive action training for women staff; and— newly established this year—a working group chaired by the chief scientist to advise on the recruitment, retention and promotion of women engineers.