Labour told it must take “urgent action” to improve women’s representation in local government

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Labour Women’s Network (LWN) has demanded “urgent action” from the party following their research on women’s representation in local government.

In a report published today, it is revealed that Labour councils are failing to enforce gender balancing in their councils. Only ten of the 100 Labour groups examined are composed of 50 per cent or more women.

The research, released to coincide with International Women’s Day, finds that 40 per cent of Labour councillors are women – 10 per cent below the amount stipulated in the party rules.

Nearly two thirds of Labour local authorities fail to comply with the party’s own rules on gender representation, which states that “as a minimum, the gender balance of the Labour group executive will reflect the gender balance of the Labour group as a whole”. Half of Labour councils miss this target by more than 5 per cent.

Labour councils also remain dominated by men – although this is significantly reduced where women have greater power. 50 per cent of women leaders have cabinets which are gender balanced, compared to 11 per cent of male leaders.

Labour Women’s Network, which trains and supports Labour women running for office, recommends that gender balancing rules, as well as the positive action requirements designed to support women running for office.

Additionally, it demands that the party takes “urgent action” to address women’s under representation at leadership level in local government.

Labour is better than average on women’s representation in local government more broadly. 20 per cent of Labour councils are led by women compared to the national average of 16 per cent. However, 80 per cent are led by men.  

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