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Looking at women and local government

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Fawcett Society, women in local politics, barriers, what you can doLocal government matters. Join in.

Local government plays an important role in all our lives: it provides vital care and social services, influences economic development in our neighbourhoods and is a vital part of the UK’s democratic system.

Local councils spend around £95billion a year, and women make up over 75 per cent of the local government workforce, but even in 2016 only 33 per cent of local councillors, 19 per cent of elected mayors and 13 per cent of council leaders were women.

‘Local and Equal – does local government work for women?’ is a year-long commission set up by The Fawcett Society and the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) to answer this question.

The commission is being jointly chaired by Labour MP Margaret Hodge and Councillor Gillian Keegan, director of Women2Win, the campaign to elect more Conservative women to Parliament, along with a host of expert commissioners with expertise in local government, women and BAME political representation and devolution.

The commission will seek to understand the barriers to equal representation in local government for women.

It will take a look at this issue and consider the particular experiences of women from a range of backgrounds, including black and minority ethnic (BAME) women, LGBT women and those with caring responsibilities.

In addition it will consider the impact of women’s under-representation on local decision-making and women’s wider engagement in local politics.

After examining the evidence and best practice on these issues it will make concrete proposals to ensure that local government really works for women.

The Commission will use a number of means to gather and test the evidence on this issue.

It will

1 – Hold evidence gathering sessions on issues facing women in local government including councillors, officers, leaders and devolution

2 – Consult the public: tell us if you think local government works for women or ask your local female councillor to give us their experiences of local government.

3 – Research: currently no organisation is responsible for finding out how many women councillors there are after each election so we are counting councillors to find out where and which party is best for women’s representation. A start has already been made – with the Northern Powerhouse – and so to read the report about women in the Northern Powerhouse, click here.

This will include gathering evidence about the diversity of women who are local councillors or who make it into the most senior positions and conducting interviews with female council leaders to find out what it is like to be a woman at the top.

Can you help gather evidence, stories, experiences, photos and views?

No matter if you only have a minute, an hour or a day to spare, there are lots of useful ways to get involved.

Got only one minute to spare?

Share social media posts with your followers making sure you include the hashtag #LocalandEqual

Follow your female councillors on social media.

Tweet your councillors to promote the campaign.

Want to get more involved?

Email or tweet your councillors with a link to the survey.

Tell Fawcett your views by completing the consultation or get in touch with your local Fawcett group to share your experiences. A list of the groups and their contact details can be found here.

Why not attend a public council meeting? Get clued up on who is making the decisions that affect local services and developments in your area.

Do you have experience working in local government?

Fawcett wants to hear your views and experiences on the subject; does local government work for women?

Complete the consultation.

Sign up to hear more about the campaign and find out when there is a call for evidence.

Come to the next #LocalandEqual meeting – in Camden on 21 February.

Or check out about being a councillor yourself. There are elections in May…

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