We need more women in local government


Author: Hannah Stevens, chief executive officer at Elect Her

There are approximately 100,000 councillors in England, but only 39.2% of them are women, whilst women make up 51% of the population. 

We need more women in local government.                                  

When women aren’t at the decision-making table, decisions are made to us, not to us. 

We need more women in local government.

“When women are able to exercise political leadership, there are gains not just for women and girls, but for the whole of society” (Global Institute for Women’s Leadership)

We need more women in local government.

We need more women in politics in all spheres of government across Britain, which is why at Elect Her, we motivate, support and equip women to pursue their political ambitions and stand for elected office. Elect Her is creating a movement of women participating in Britain’s democracy and nurturing a culture where women thrive there. Through listening to thousands of women over the past four years, we have become experts in the lived experience of women in politics and are designing programmes of coaching, support and skills development to encourage and motivate women to take the next step at each stage of their political journey.

Local government is a fantastic place for women to begin their engagement in community politics. Often, town and parish councils are less connected with political party systems and provide women with the opportunity to get directly involved with community activity without having to navigate political party processes and candidate selection processes. It’s the ideal space to connect with the needs of your neighbours and step forward in community leadership.

We all know women engaged in our communities who are volunteering, organising events, bringing people together but who think “politics isn’t for people like me.” Have a think. I’m sure there is at least one woman who comes to mind. What can you do to encourage her?  We urge you to talk to her, encourage her to consider getting involved in the local council, and signpost her to the Elect, her community, where she can ask questions and be encouraged. If you are that woman, if you are involved in local campaigning and organising, wanting things to improve, pushing for things to get better, working to bring people together in your community, you know who you are, then come and join us. We are here to tell you that local politics absolutely is for you. You don’t need qualifications to represent your local community. If you care, you’re qualified.

Why not join us?

Whatever stage of your political engagement you are at, we have something for you.

Getting started: For women who want to be more active in politics but don’t know where to start. We are creating a space for women to ask beginner questions and learn the basics about being a woman in politics. 

Get involved: For women who want to participate, show up and get involved. We’ll help you map out your options, whether to join a political party or remain independent. We’re here to support you as you plan out your next steps.

Getting ready to stand: For women who are or are hoping to be candidates in an upcoming election. 

In elected office: Providing coaching and peer support for women once they are elected.

Women in our community have access to:

  • Workshops challenging women to consider the core motivations they have for getting in to politics and utilising that “why” to define their next steps. Workshops sharing skills needed to campaign and thrive in politics.
  • Webinars featuring the voices and stories of women who have already done the hard work of getting elected and inviting them to share their authentic lived experience as women with all of the realities that come with that. 
  • Personal development programmes provide women with the space to reflect on their values, aspirations and lived experiences to develop personal action plans in preparation for a life in politics and leadership. 
  • Self-led online resources demystifying Britain’s democracy, available to access at times that work for real women with real lives.
  • Communities of peers in tailored spaces led by and for communities of women. 
  • Small grants and practical support to overcome financial barriers that prevent women from getting political.

All of it is free to access for any woman in Britain interested in learning more.

Ultimately, we are cheerleaders for the women we work with. A safe space to feel acknowledged and championed as you slowly articulate and then move forward toward your political ambitions.

If you are interested in finding out more, join the Elect Her community to find out how we can support you, or a woman you know, to get more involved in your community and consider stepping in to local government.

The following blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional or legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Association of Local Councils. Any links to external sources included in this blog post are provided for convenience and do not constitute endorsement or approval of those websites' content, products, services, or policies. Therefore, readers should use discretion and judgment when applying the information to their circumstances. Finally, this blog post may be updated or revised without notice.

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