Headlines: June 12th, 2000

A report published by the Fawcett Society reveals that only 26% of women are local councillors. Most of the chairs of committees are men and where councils have adopted a cabinet style government, women hold only 22% of positions. There are 13 councils with no women in their cabinets.The report identified practical barriers women participating in local government. Finding time for council work is harder for women who already bear the double burden of paid work and the main responsibility for childcare and housework. The timing of council meetings, often starting at 4.0 p.m. is a difficult time for women with children. It is alleged that this is the starting time that men find most convenient.

In the wider field of governance in public life women are a little better represented. They hold 33% of appointments in the 35,000 posts on boards of public bodies such as the Commission for Racial Equality or English Nature. The aim of the Minister for Employment and Women is to see women hold 50% of these post