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Gender equality

The Civil Service has a long-standing commitment to promoting equal opportunities for men and women across the organisation.

Last updated - 9th December 2008

This commitment was underlined by the first ever gender equality Public Service Agreement (PSA) objective announced in 2003.

A subsequent PSA objective set targets to increase the number of women in the Senior Civil Service by April 2008, as it was recognised that women are under-represented at these levels.

The 2008 targets set in the previous PSA objective were:

  • 37% of the Senior Civil Service to be women
  • 30% of the top management posts to be filled by women

Final reporting of progress against these targets will be available in Autumn 2008.

In July 2008 new targets were set to increase the number of women in the Senior Civil Service over the next five years (with a stretch target of achieving within three years).

  • 39% of the Senior Civil Service to be women
  • 34% of the top management posts to be filled by women

The Cabinet Office is monitoring what departments are doing to achieve these objectives, as part of the strategy for the Civil Service called Promoting Equality, Valuing Diversity: A Strategy for the Civil Service.

Departmental actions on gender equality are set out in individual gender equality schemes, which are available on all departmental websites. You can access all departments' schemes through DirectGov.

Benchmarking equality

Many departments and agencies also assess their progress on gender equality actions by using a benchmarking tool that Opportunity Now offers its members. Opportunity Now is an organisation for employers who are committed to creating an inclusive workplace for women.

Gender equality guidance

Guidance for managers and employees on gender equality, including useful links.


Promoting Equality, Valuing Diversity: A Strategy for the Civil Service

Read more about what we're doing to build and develop a diverse Civil Service: