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More than 3000 female councillors needed to reach 50:50 gender balance in local government – statement

21 August 2017


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A report published today (Monday 21 August 2017) by the IPPR has highlighted the lack of women across local government, including new combined authorities.


The analysis finds that just 33% of councillors are women, with this figure dropping to 17% amongst council leaders. In the new Mayoral Combined Authority Boards only 4% of constituent members are women and all six are led by men.


The new report, Power to the people? Tackling the gender imbalance in combined authorities & local government, finds that women face a number of barriers particularly in entering local government and progression into leadership roles:

On the report James Palmer, Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) commented:

“We welcome the report and fully agree that gender imbalance at local government level needs to be addressed. As far as possible councillors in an area should represent the people they serve, whether it is gender or race, so that they can fully address the needs of the communities they represent.

“It is important that young people understand the role of local government and aspire to be part of it, and it is up to Councillors, Leaders and Mayors to encourage that aspiration by being good role models and prove that people can influence and deliver change. We are fully supportive of the LGA campaign and I will be actively encouraging all of the Council members which make up the Combined Authority to engage with it and sign up to it, as well as working hard to encourage more women into politics by working with schools and colleges.

“In Cambridgeshire, we are moving in the right direction as we now have three fantastic female MPs who are very well respected both in their constituency but also in Government. Four of our Councils also have female Chief Executives.

“However, the make-up of the CPCA is such that it is up to each of the members to nominate their representative on Combined Authority Board. It's not the Mayor who determines the gender balance on the board.

"I'm committed to ensuring that throughout its decision making processes, the CPCA fully acknowledges the extremely diverse communities that it serves across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. I will explore different ways in which the CPCA can engage with all communities across the region to ensure that their views are represented. I am prepared to look at ways of working with the different local authorities to encourage them to engage with and action the result of the report.”