The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Worries over lack of female candidates

- KATHRYN ANDERSON, LOCAL DEMOCRACY REPORTER

Only 15% of the newly-elected Perth and Kinross councillor­s are female.

The number of women councillor­s has dropped from nine to six following last week’s elections.

More than 70% of the candidates who stood in the 2022 Perth and Kinross Council elections were male and 85% of those who went on to be elected were male.

Only six out of the 40 councillor­s elected last week are female.

The SNP’S Fiona Sarwar was one of four female councillor­s who stepped down.

Elected at the age of 34 in 2017 to represent Strathmore, she said: “Politics remains a very tough place for young people and women, especially in local government.

“The mould is retired white men and if you don’t fit the mould it can be a tough and tiring place to be.”

Following the May 5 elections just two out of the SNP’S 16 councillor­s are women: Sheila Mccole and newcomer Michelle Frampton.

Conservati­ve Strathearn councillor Roz Mccall called for more female councillor­s as she left and said: “I would like to see more women stand for local government. A balanced debate only comes from everyone being represente­d – so come on, girls.”

Caroline Shiers is now the only female Conservati­ve councillor but has been given the role of deputy leader of the Tory group.

She previously called for more flexibilit­y to help women and others into politics when she said: “I would like to see local authoritie­s being more creative about the way they are adapting to who local members are and that they do what they can to accommodat­e them.

“Everyone’s situation is different.

“We should make it as easy as possible.”

Ms Shiers was first elected in 2007 and fought the campaign pushing her then 18-month-old daughter in a buggy.

A year-and-a-half later she gave birth to her second child and returned to the council just four weeks after giving birth.

On Friday, her daughter Martha – now old enough to vote in council elections – was there to congratula­te her mum as she was re-elected.

Alba and the Scottish Family Party only fielded male candidates – two and three respective­ly, Labour four men and three women and UKIP one female.

The Lib Dems now have equal representa­tion with two men and two women elected: Liz Barrett and Strathtay’s newly-elected Claire Mclaren.

Strathearn’s Rhona Brock is the only female of the four independen­ts who were elected.

The Scottish Greens – who were ultimately unsuccessf­ul – fielded six female and four male candidates.

Susannah Rae was “surprised and disappoint­ed” to be the only female out of nine candidates standing in Perth City Centre.

She said: “I was surprised and disappoint­ed to discover that I was the only woman standing in Perth City Centre.

“We need the larger parties to improve their gender balance in order to make Perth and Kinross Council more representa­tive.”

 ?? ?? GENDER IMBALANCE: Councillor Caroline Shiers and daughter Martha bring a rare female presence to the elections.
GENDER IMBALANCE: Councillor Caroline Shiers and daughter Martha bring a rare female presence to the elections.

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