Laura Sharman 02 May 2019

Council elections: Warning over lack of progress on female representation

Only 34% of all candidates running in today’s local elections are women, new research has revealed today.

The data, produced by the Fawcett Society and Democracy Club, finds that the number of women running in the local elections this year has only increased by three percentage points compared to the elections in 2015.

At this rate it would take over 32 years for women to achieve equality on these councils, the research concluded.

‘This lack of progress is shocking and puts councils squarely behind the times. We can’t wait more than three decades for women to play an equal part in local government,’ said Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society.

‘National attention may be focussed on Brexit, but without women on our councils, vital issues like care for older people, planning decisions, and council tax will continue to be decided by men.

‘With 80% of seats going to incumbents in previous elections, the space for change is limited. All of the parties need to set out their plan of action to change this – now.’

Previous research by Fawcett found that just 4% of councils had a maternity leave policy in place, and 97% of councils remained male dominated.

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