Only 30 per cent of council candidates are women

Written by Tom Freeman on 5 April 2017 in News

Only 775 out of 2550 local government election candidates are women, reveals Women 50:50

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The makeup of Scotland’s councils after the May election will be decidedly male, a campaign for equal representation for women has revealed.

The Women 50:50 campaign has published details of the candidates standing for election on May 4 which reveal only 30 per cent are women.

Furthermore, 21 wards in Scotland have only men on the ballot paper.


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Council areas with the worst representation of women candidates are Comhairle nan Eilean Siar at ten per cent and Orkney and Moray at 20 per cent.

West Lothian has the most balanced candidate list with 41 per cent candidates female.

No political party achieved 50 per cent women candidates. The Scottish Greens are fielding 45 per cent women, the SNP 41 per cent, the Scottish Liberal Democrats 33 per cent and Scottish Labour on 32 per cent.

Only 17 per cent of Scottish Conservative candidates are women.

Around 25 per cent of sitting councillors are women, and Women 50:50 says this shows quotas are needed in political parties.

The campaign’s chair and co-founder Talat Yaqoob said: “It is time for rhetoric to be turned to action, and we must implement legislation for all parties to follow, to make sure decision makers reflect the society they are meant to represent.”

Women currently make up 52 per cent of Scotland’s population but only 35 per cent of MSPs, 28 per cent of public body chief executives, 23 per cent of sheriffs and seven per cent of senior police officers.

Dr. Meryl Kenny, Steering group member of Women 5050 and Gender and Politics Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh said: “Levels of women’s representation in Scottish local Government have flat-lines for decades. In 2017, we see the same patterns- some parties taking the issue seriously, while others like the Scottish Conservatives continue to lag well behind.

“It’s time to follow the evidence and take tough action through gender quotas to ensure 50/50 representation in our councils and parliament”

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