LGA briefing: International Women’s Day, House of Lords, 7 March 2019

Councils have a significant and positive impact on the lives of their female residents. As well as encouraging them to enter public life, councils provide a range of services that improve the lives of women.


  • The first women won the right to vote in local elections in 1869 and the first female councillor was elected in 1907. This was long before they were eligible to vote, let alone stand, in parliamentary elections.
  • Our members tell us that a lack of pension contributions and parental leave, and the intimidation of people in public life, can all act as barriers to standing as a councillor or taking on responsibilities as a cabinet member.
  • We are committed to helping our members improve their diversity and inclusion across all areas, and we want to work with central government to encourage more women to enter politics.
  • To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, the LGA is proud to launch its new toolkit to help councils create underlying policies, procedures, ethos and environment that encourages and empowers women, parents and carers to become local councillors and take on leadership positions.
  • It is vital that local government reflects the communities it represents and the LGA’s Be A Councillor campaign, which encourages more people to stand as a councillor, includes a focus on encouraging women and under-represented groups to engage with, and enter, politics.
  • In 2017, the LGA drew up and signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Fire Chiefs Council, Fire Brigades Union, Women in the Fire Service, Asian Fire Service Association, Stonewall, Quiltbag, GMB, Unison and others to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in the fire and rescue service, along with the behaviours and organisational culture that supports these outcomes.
  • As part of our continuing work to support fire services, in 2019 we ran a series of regional diversity and inclusion masterclasses for fire and rescue services that were attended by 65 individuals from a broad range of fire services.
  • Councils have a significant and positive impact on the lives of their female residents. As well as encouraging them to enter public life, councils provide a range of services that improve the lives of women.
  • Supporting women back into employment, providing support services to new mothers, offering childcare services, protecting domestic abuse victims, and tackling Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are just a few examples of the range of good work councils do to improve the lives of women.

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LGA briefing: International Women’s Day, 7 March 2019