Too few women on coun­cils

Southern Gazette (Victoria Park) - - News -­mu­ni­ d439408

THE City of South Perth has the only fe­male mayor in the three lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas that the South­ern Gazette cov­ers but South Perth and the City of Bel­mont have both been rel­a­tively well rep­re­sented by women be­tween 1999 and 2013.

Women over­all are still se­verely un­der-rep­re­sented across Perth metropoli­tan coun­cils, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased last week.

The Com­mit­tee for Perth and Univer­sity of WA’s lat- est FACTBase re­port said 43.2 per cent of Bel­mont coun­cil­lors voted in dur­ing the eight elec­tions be­tween 1999 and 2013 were women.

In South Perth it was 35.6 per cent and 29.3 per cent in Vic­to­ria Park.

Women gen­er­ally were more suc­cess­ful at win­ning a seat than men, mak­ing up 29.7 per cent of can­di­dates but win­ning 32.7 per cent of the po­si­tions in 2013.

Com­mit­tee for Perth chief ex­ec­u­tive Mar­ion Fulker said there ap­peared a sim­ple so­lu­tion to get­ting a more even share of males and fe­males on metropoli­tan coun­cils: get more women to stand in lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions.

“But this is eas­ier said than done be­cause there are clearly a num­ber of bar­ri­ers that still need to be over­come,” she said.

For­mer City of Bel­mont coun­cil­lor and Aus­tralian Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion of WA founder Mar­ion Blair said there should be more women on coun­cil. But she con­ceded be­com­ing a coun­cil­lor was a big com­mit­ment that may not work for ev­ery­one.

“Thirty-two, 33 per cent is too low, es­pe­cially when women make up 51 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion,” she said.

“But be­ing on lo­cal gov­ern­ment is a big job. Your workspace is of­ten your home or wher­ever you have space. It’s on you to do the home­work and de­bate.

“That may not be for ev­ery­one, but women have a huge role to play.”

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek

The City of South Perth’s Narelle Pais­ley, Vicki Lum­mer, He­len Car­di­nal, Mayor Sue Do­herty, Kerry Prka and San­dra Wat­son.

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