COSLA affirms commitment to increasing female representation in local government
COSLA has reaffirmed its commitment to increasing women’s representation in local government in Scotland in light of the Pledge for Parity focus of International’s Women’s Day last week and the 60th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women taking place over the next fortnight.
Last year COSLA agreed to internal constitutional changes that will result in COSLA having a gender-balanced political executive following the local government elections in 2017.
COSLA’s convention also commissioned a package of work on the barriers to women’s participation as councillors in local government.
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Suggestions emerging from this package of work have now been reported to the COSLA convention for consideration and COSLA’s Gender Balance Task Group will take them forward to agree and prioritise actions.
Among the proposals are the creation of a forum for female councillors to discuss the issues facing women in local government, the need to make a positive case for women’s role in politics and local democracy and for a positive portrayal of female councillors in the media, and engagement with national political parties, trade unions and other stakeholders to form a collaborative response to tackling the barriers to women’s participation.
Councillor Rhondda Geekie, Chair of COSLA’s Gender Balance Task Group, said: “While COSLA has taken a lead on this issue within our own governance structures, we recognise that progress on women’s representation in politics and public life requires work and involvement of a variety of others, including political parties and trade unions.
“COSLA looks forward to continuing discussions and work with all who have an interest in this important issue, so that that decision making bodies can be inclusive and representative of the communities that they serve, therefore delivering more responsive policies and better outcomes for all communities in Scotland.”