This week the BBC finally revealed the salaries of their top earners; those earning more than £150,000. The Director General, Lord Hall admitted they have a gender pay problem, as well as an under representation of those from BAME communities.
Women in Local Government
This week the BBC finally revealed the salaries of their top earners; those earning more than £150,000. The Director General, Lord Hall admitted they have a gender pay problem, as well as an under representation of those from BAME communities. With eighty per cent of the highest earners being men the Corporation has 'pledged to achieve equality between men and women on air by 2020.'
It's not just the BBC where gender inequality is so pronounced, less than a quarter of councillors are women and only 17 percent of leaders, even though male/female ambition is the same. Councils are losing out on skills as something continues to prevent women from playing a full role in local government. According to the Fawcett Society and the LGiU in their recent report, Does Local Government work for Women? 43 percent of women felt held back by assumptions about their gender. The Society is inviting you to add your own experiences online.
The recent report from the Fawcett Society gives data and anecdotes demonstrating a picture in local government barely altered since 1997, in contrast to the number of female members of parliament, which starting from a lower base, has increased from 5 to 32 percent.
In some parties, all women shortlists have been effective, although controversial, at improving the balance of elected members. Elsewhere there have been requirements to include at least one woman where a ward is shared by multiple candidates.
The LGA Independent Group is the most diverse and we are well used to promoting listening councillors, respectful of all our residents, however only 26% of our membership are women. Members at our Group AGM were against positive discrimination, but the motion to encourage a better mix on our councils was backed unanimously. You may like to tailor a motion on the same lines for your own Council and look at some of the barriers that exist, for example the Fawcett Report also points out that only 4% of Councils have a maternity/paternity policy for councillors, and recommends the policy for all councils.
In addition to the above, the Women’s Local Government Society are also busy promoting the role of women in local government through their Suffrage Pioneers campaign.
This year is an important anniversary for female councillors; from 1907 women ratepayers were able to sit on and become chairman of councils as well as mayors. The Women's Local Government Society is the cross-party Independent organisation that first campaigned to allow women to stand as councillors. The first four women to stand as County Councillors came from Lincolnshire, Tewksbury, Brixton and Bow. The organisation has been revived over recent years and is looking to celebrate Suffrage Pioneers.
They are now running a campaign to highlight these Pioneers and you are invited to seek out women or men active in securing equal rights back in 1918 and those who used these extended rights in a positive way locally. They are also looking for young people voting for the first time in 2018 or 2019 who have been inspired by the Pioneers. Your nominations will inform the WLGS’ work to mark the 2018 centenary of the first women to vote.
So, was there a campaigner who lived near you? Can we link the past with the present, by highlighting the value of local councillors and promoting equal opportunities at the same time? If you know of anyone in your area that fits the above criteria then please complete the nomination form and let the Group Office know so we can track those suggested by our Members.
LGA Independent Group motion: https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Motion%20-%20Helen%20Powell-WEB.pdf
The Women's Local Government Society: www.suffrage-pioneers.net/wlgs/