The proportion of women elected to local government in England this year increased by less than 1 per cent, bringing the total population of female councillors to 34 per cent. There are only two more woman-led councils compared to 2016, with women making up 17.8 per cent of all council leaders.
Cllr Marianne Overton, Vice-Chair of the LGA, said: “The report rightly identifies that progress must be made at a faster pace to ensure a greater representation of women in our local authorities.
“It is vital that local government better reflects the communities we represent and is inclusive, in order to have the best skills and make the best possible decisions.
“The LGA is leading the ‘Be a Councillor’ campaign. This year, our main focus is to encourage women and under-represented groups to stand for election and help shape local councils to best support our communities. Councils also remain committed to ensuring that, once elected, women have an equal opportunity to become leaders.”
She added: “Local government must be at the forefront of driving change, but it will be important to get the balance right between changing culture and imposing structures. Change will also require all political parties and Independents to fully engage and support a wide range of aspiring councillors.”
The LGA is supporting the Women’s Local Government Society’s project, identifying 100 pioneers in women’s suffrage, and women who used their elected positions and votes to bring benefits to their communities. It also plans to launch a self-assessment equalities toolkit, which will be available for councils this autumn.