Women and political participation

I was delighted to see the Prime Minister take time off from the Brexit negotiations to host a reception for female entrepreneurs and chair a panel discussion on combating female genital mutilation.

“Women remain under-represented at all levels of politics, particularly in leadership roles

As a Conservative, I am proud that our two female prime ministers have come from my party – but, as the first female leader of my council, I am also acutely aware that women remain under-represented at all levels of politics, particularly in leadership roles. Only 18 per cent of group leaders and around 24 per cent of council chief executives are women.

There are still too many barriers to women’s participation in politics, but important work is currently taking place to address this, including my party working towards making its candidates list 50 per cent female and actively encouraging more women to become councillors.

The LGA also recently published a guide, ‘Twenty-first Century Councils’ (see www.local.gov.uk/twenty-first-century-councils) to help councils encourage women to become councillors and assume leadership positions, an initiative that is complemented by the ‘Be a Councillor’ schemes run by the LGA’s four political groups.

A century after women gained the vote, it is incumbent on us all to ensure that our politicians at all levels are more representative of the nation as a whole.

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