Too few women on councils
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.”
The City of South Perth’s Narelle Paisley, Vicki Lummer, Helen Cardinal, Mayor Sue Doherty, Kerry Prka and Sandra Watson.