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LGNSW calls for more women in councils

Increasing numbers of women were standing for election to councils, but more were needed to ensure local government truly represented the communities it serves, Local Government NSW said today.

LGNSW President Linda Scott will issue the call for more female councillors and council staff at the peak body’s inaugural International Women’s Day luncheon in Sydney on Thursday.

Cr Scott said 29.5 per cent of all elected councillors in NSW were women, a slight increase on the 2012 figure of 27 per cent.

“Women have always made a massive contribution to their communities and more and more are taking up the challenge in the local government sphere,” she said.

“We’d like to see that representation grow.

“Currently, only 14 per cent of NSW’s 128 councils have female general managers, and just 29 per cent are represented by female mayors.

“While the number of female mayors has doubled over the past two decades, there is still much work to be done.

“Some councils had a majority of women elected in 2017, but there are still a few councils that do not have any women councillors at all.

“That’s just not good enough, and it won’t be good enough until we have equal pay, equal representation in boardrooms, government, and equality in all aspects of life.”

Cr Scott said the LGNSW International Women’s Day Luncheon was a fresh opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, professional and political achievements of women in local government.

“However, it is also an opportunity to promote the need for gender parity,” she said.

“We need to maintain and increase the momentum by continuing to press for progress.

“A representative government should mirror its community so that decision-making is a clear reflection of the interests and perspectives of its constituency.”

Cr Scott said LGNSW had introduced a number of initiatives that supported women in the sector, including the Local Government Capability Framework, a women’s development program, and endorsement of the 5050 Vision - Councils for Gender Equity Program.

“As the sector’s peak body we’re already walking the talk,” she said.

“LGNSW has a female President, Treasurer, and Chief Executive, while 50% of our Board of Directors are women.

“We facilitate a women’s development program to assist those in non-management positions to further their careers, including a mentoring program.

“We also endorse the 5050 Vision - Councils for Gender Equity Program, and actively promote and support the Australian Local Government Women’s Association and its work, whenever we can.”

The LGNSW International Women’s Day Luncheon, with special guest speaker Anne Summers AO, will be held at Dolton House in Sydney.

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