§ Mr. Donohoe
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 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. 
§ Sir John Wheeler
Measures taken by Northern Ireland Departments and agencies within the last 12 months include the introduction of mentoring, the creation of women's networks and the establishment of "keeping in touch" schemes for staff on career breaks; the inclusion in public advertisements for senior posts of statements particularly welcoming applications from women and a vigorous programme of equal opportunity awareness and training for senior staff. Other measures already in place are reported in the regularly published 193W reports from the central equal opportunities unit for the Northern Ireland civil service, copies of which have been placed in the Library.
The proportion of women employed at grade 6 level and above in the non-industrial grades in the Northern Ireland civil service, has increased from 11.4 per cent. at 1 January to 15.8 per cent. at 1 January 1996.
There is a broadly equivalent programme for action on women for home civil service staff serving in the Northern Ireland Office. Progress on the HCS programme for action on women is contained in regular reports on equal opportunities published by the Cabinet Office.