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Foster and McGuinness unveil new targets for improving quango board diversity

Quango commissioner Judena Leslie with Martin McGuinness and Arlene Foster as they announce new targets for redressing a gender imbalance in public appointments

New targets have been set for increasing the number of women on the boards of the north's quangos.

The move follows criticism of a lack of diversity in appointments to public bodies.

The Irish News revealed last year that the north's quango appointments watchdog resigned after becoming frustrated by the slow pace of change.

John Keanie's criticisms centred on the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister and civil service.

His successor is lawyer and senior civil servant Judena Leslie.

Under new measures unveiled yesterday by First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, it is hoped the underrepresentation of women on quango boards can be redressed.

The ministers aim to see the same number of women as men appointed to arms-length bodies next year.

By 2021 they hope the gender numbers on more than 100 quango boards will be equal.

Ms Foster and Mr McGuinness also plan to review the "culture of boards to ensure inclusivity".

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