Outdated Council practices can hold women back, say Greens

18 April 2018

The Green Group of Councillors are calling on the Council to do more to make local government accessible to women and those with caring responsibilities.

A year-long study from the Fawcett Society’s Local Government Commission, which asked, ‘Does Local Government Work for Women?,’ found that more than three quarters of councils had no maternity or paternity policies in place and that since 1997, there has only been a 5% improvement in gender balance across local Government overall.

With 2018 marking the centenary of the right to vote for some women, Greens want to see Brighton and Hove City Council take up a number of the report’s recommendations, such as a sexual harassment policy and better childcare arrangements, so that Brighton and Hove City Council can help to ‘press for progress’ and boost the participation of women from all walks of life.

Councillor Louisa Greenbaum commented:
“Women are more likely to rely on public services, as they are also more likely to be paid less and to be lone parents or primary carers for children, older and disabled people. Every day we make decisions which will affect these groups, yet nationally only 1 in 3 councillors are women. Here in Brighton and Hove that figure is 48% which is a great achievement and a figure we should be proud of, but there is still room to improve diversity by widening participation out to younger women councillors and those with children.
“During my time as a councillor I have become very aware of how difficult it is to combine the role with caring responsibilities and how this holds back women with young children from playing a part in the democratic institutions that shape their lives. It is never going to be easy to take on a demanding role like this at the same time as being a parent, but there are adjustments we can make such as formalising a parental leave arrangement and providing realistic childcare payments, which would make it a lot more doable.
“If we are to make sure that councillors truly represent the communities they serve, then looking at the recommendations from this vital report will be a good place to start.”


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