Women make up just over 50 per cent of the Australian population, yet representation of women in elected positions in local government is around 27 per cent and only around 5 per cent of chief executive officer positions are occupied by women. These percentages have not changed much over 20 years. Local government should reflect the diversity and composition of the community they serve - at both the elected and senior management level.
2010 marked the Year of Women in Local Government, and raised awareness and improved the current gender imbalance. The Year of Women in Local Government 2010 homepage can be accessed at http://lgwomen2010.org.au/.
ALGA supported the Year of Women in Local Government though a panel session at the National General Assembly in June 2010 and through the production of a publication Women in Politics to celebrate the year. The publication will remain a lasting record of the Year of Women in Local Government and ALGA hopes will encourage and inspire women beyond 2010. State and Territory Local Government Associations are working hard to promote the work of women in local government and to support and encourage women in local government.
Year of Women in Local Government 2010
The Year of Women in Local Government 2010 was an initiative between the Local Government Managers Association (LGMA), the Australian Local Government Women's Association (ALGWA) and the Local Government and Planning Ministers Council (LGPMC).
Federal and state governments supported the campaign, with the Australian Government providing $490,000 of funding for a range of projects. The joint announcement by Minister Albanese and Minister Plibersek announcement is available here.
The objectives of the Year of Women in Local Government were to:
- raise awareness of the significant role women play in the effectiveness and long-term health of local government, and the need to increase their participation. This will be addressed by promoting - through practical examples and dissemination of research – the benefits of increasing the participation of women and embracing gender equity at both elected and executive levels
- foster commitment to local government becoming an 'employer of choice' for women through advocating for cultural and attitudinal change to remove barriers to the advancement of women
- encourage councils, through a range of communication channels, to establish targets to:
- increase the participation of women in decision making roles in local government; and
- increase participation of women in management and leadership training and mentoring programs in local government
- establish communication, support and developmental structures that can be kept current and remain available post-2010 to maintain the momentum of the year.
Women in Politics report (Free publication)