Target practice needed

November 1, 2002

Oops - the government's aim for equality in public life is slipping. Three years ago, the Department for Education and Skills pledged to increase the representation of women on quangos from 29 per cent to 50 per cent and of ethnic minorities from 4 per cent to 15 per cent. By April 2002, female representation was supposed to have reached 45 per cent and all boards were supposed to have at least one representative from an ethnic minority group.

Last week, four new members were appointed to the board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Only one of these is a woman - in effect replacing another woman who was leaving - and none comes from an ethnic minority.

The Hefce board is now 23 per cent female and has no representatives from an ethnic minority group. In addition, its chairman, chief executive, assessor and four observers are male and white.

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