Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Being A Young Woman In Local Government

I bleat about it often enough, but if you didn't know, in May I was elected to be a councillor in my local district. The district council is the middle out of three - town, district then county - so it deals with a wide range of issues, and it works closely with the other branches of local government. When I was elected, I became the youngest councillor our district had ever had, and honestly in 2017, I feel like that's a bit shitty. At 25, I am at least 20 years younger than the previous youngest councillor, and the vast majority of councillors are retired or close to retiring age. It probably won't surprise you that the majority of councillors are men, either. This does not represent our district. It doesn't really represent any district. 


Our district is currently experiencing a boom of young workers coming to the area to help with the development of Hinckley Point C, and all of our secondary schools are close to oversubscription, if not there already. Young people - and really, this could be anyone under the age of 35 - are not being represented by the councillors. More importantly to me, young women are being neglected here. Women are quite literally half of the population, and yet the Fawcett Society found that just 33 percent of all councillors in England, and 28 percent of councillors in Wales, are women. At the current rate of progress in English county councils it will take 48 years for us to reach gender parity. In Welsh councils it would take 82 years. We simply cannot wait that long.

If you follow my Instagram Stories - and really you should, as it's mostly cute vids of Robin - you might have heard me recently talking about the documents councillors receive all have Miss/Mrs/Ms in front of the women's names, and nothing in front of a man's. I am hoping to discuss this today at a full council meeting, and ask that the council joins the real world in 2017 and puts a stop to this. I'm hoping to highlight key issues from the Fawcett Society, and show how little things like this actually contribute to sexism and the lack of equality for all. 

Hopefully I'll be able to get back to you all and let you know that it's been a right ol' success, but I fear that a lot of these councillors are stuck in their ways and are quite happy to continue as they always have. Now, isn't that exactly what you want to hear from your local government? 

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