Today (8th March) marks International Women’s Day, an event celebrated around the world for more than a century to highlight the achievements of women. This year’s campaign theme is #BreakTheBias, with a focus on creating a world that is free of stereotyping and discrimination.
As part of this campaign, Councillor Paula Widdowson is taking the chance to urge more women to stand for elected office.
Latest research by the Fawcett Society and Democracy Club shows women make up just a third of councillors across England's local authorities.
The number of female councillors across England has grown in recent years, with 6,021 now in council chambers, up from 5,802 in 2017. That means 35 per cent of council seats nationally are held by women, up from 33 per cent five years ago.
Councillor Paula Widdowson, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change, commented:
“International Women’s Day gives us all a chance to reflect upon the progress made towards gender equality, celebrate the courage and achievements of women all over the world and call for change.
“Representation is vital, especially in politics, and this must begin at the local level. We need to see more women play leading roles in local government to shape communities and our longer term post pandemic recovery, especially young women. Local Councils and Parliament needs to draw upon the widest possible pool of talent and our country’s 32 million women need to have an equal voice.
“However, we know that there are still many barriers that face women and girls that must be challenged and dismantled, as this year’s International Women’s Day theme highlights.
“Local government benefits from diversity and lived experiences. As we build for a more inclusive future, it is crucial that the women’s voices are represented so we can make meaningful change in our communities.
“If you need help, guidance or further information, the LGA’s Be A Councillor campaign is a brilliant place to start.”