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New quota for board members in Wales

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Welsh flag, women, quotas, feminsimThe Welsh government has pledged to improve the representation of women on the boards of public bodies.

According to current figures, only 32.2 per cent of new appointments are women, but the Government aims to improve the gender balance by setting a target of 40per cent of places for women.

Welsh Equalities Minister Jane Hutt said that positive action is needed, including legislation if necessary.

“There is growing evidence that the number of women taking up public or political roles is reducing,” she said.

“The Welsh Government is committed to reversing this trend, but we all have a role to play in increasing women’s representation in public appointments – from public sector bodies to political parties and the media.”

The move follows the example of Sport Wales, the organisation responsible for increasing participation in sports.

In 2012, Sport Wales improved the gender balance of its board, going from eight men and one woman to nine men and five women.

This dramatic change was achieved by approaching female candidates directly and encouraging them to apply.

Application material was also updated to make it more appealing to both genders, resulting in a threefold increase in applications from women.

The Welsh government seems to be making the issue equal of representation a priority.

Last month, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood supported legislation aimed at boosting the amount of women elected to the Welsh Assembly.

Following a decline in the number of female Assembly Members – currently 44 per cent of AMs are women, down from 52 per cent in 2006 – Wood told the BBC that there is “a gap in gender balance”.

“If nothing is done that will continue to grow and we will end up being dominated by the usual agenda which is male, pale and stale,” she said.

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