Mayor backs campaign to boost council diversity
MANSFIELD Shire mayor and Victorian Local Governance Association vice president, Marg Attley, is delighted with a State Government initiative to champion greater gender equity and increased diversity across Victoria’s local councils.
Last week, Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins announced $50,000 in funding for the Victorian Local Governance Association’s (VLGA) GoWomenLG 2016 project, which aims to increase the number of female candidates across the state.
The funding will build on existing work and focuses on encouraging women from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds to consider nominating as candidates at the next election.
The 2012 council elections saw a record number of women candidates and a female councillor on every one of Victoria’s 79 councils for the first time.
Ms Hutchins confirmed that while the number of women in leadership roles within local government was slowly growing, women were still underrepresented.
Currently 39 per cent (30) of all mayors are women, 35 per cent (217) are councillors and 18 per cent are chief executive officers (14).
“Our councils are most effective when they reflect the communities they serve,” Ms Hutchins said.
“That’s why we are investing in mentoring women, and those of Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
“The current cohort of female councillors have paved the way.
“We want councils to be representative of the communities they represent, so we need more women from all types of backgrounds to stand up in October 2016,” she added.
“Our local democracy is enriched by the participation of people from wonderfully diverse cultures and backgrounds,” Cr Attley said.
“It’s important that women, particularly those from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, are encouraged and supported to put their hand up to represent their community.
“This additional funding will allow the VLGA to build on its successful history of supporting women in local government.”