17 October 2012

Elect More Women in Local Government?

The following article appeared in this week's Eastern Courier. The under representation by women in Unley has been long standing and certainly needs to be addressed. It is time to think about representation in Unley and how it might be done differently. You thoughts on how this might be achieved are very welcome.

Elect more women

Eastern Courier Messenger, Adelaide  by  Alyssa-Jane Tucker
17 Oct 2012

JUST one in four elected members in the east is female, prompting sitting women to call for the imbalance to be redressed at the 2014 elections.

Checks by the Eastern Courier Messenger show female representation on Burnside, Unley and Norwood, Payneham and St Peters has dropped in the past three terms.

The trend has prompted Burnside councillors Helga Lemon and Di Wilkins to call for more women to stand for councils.

It’s absolutely essential to have women in the council (as) 52 per cent of the population in Burnside is women,’’ Cr Lemon said.

I’d like to see a 50 per cent representation so the community is properly represented and I would love to see some younger women getting involved.’’

Presently, women comprise 28 per cent of the elected members serving across the three councils.

All three local mayors are men.

I didn’t think our community was being well served by the previous council,’’ Cr Lemon said of her decision to stand in 2010.

I thought I could sit back and complain or I could throw my hat in the ring and stand up and have a go.

Women bring a different perspective to the table, because we’re mothers, friends, sisters and we’ve nursed elderly parents.’’

Cr Wilkins said councils needed more female involvement.

It’s important that women are represented as part of our community because we are the people that manage the family, we work, we volunteer in the community.

I would definitely encourage any women wanting to be more involved in the community to consider (standing).’’

Local Government Association chief executive Wendy Campana hoped the number of women members would increase from 27 per cent statewide, a level it had been at since 2003.

Although the growth has not been strong in recent years, we did see a record number of women nominating in 2010 and I would hope to repeat that in 2014,’’ Ms Campana said.

I think the community is ready to see these figures rise to 50 per cent or more but how rapidly we move is up to the community.’’

Contact the LGA for information and advice if you are interested in running for local government.

ELECTED MEMBER Norwood, Payneham & St Peters . 2003-06: Six of 16 female . 2006-10: Five . 2010-14: Four of 14 Burnside . 2003-06: Six of 13 female . 2006-10: Three . 2010-14: Five Unley Council . 2003-06: Two of 13 female . 2006-10: Three . 2010-14: Two

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