Women under represented in local government

Australia fails at a local level to uphold its international reputation for gender equality in politics.

Australia has a female Prime Minister, but at a local level, women represent less than 30 per cent of councillors in Victoria.

Australia has a history of progressive women’s rights in politics, in 1902 it was the first country in the world to afford women the right to vote and stand for election.

Women left without a voice in local government

This history is not the case for women in politics at a local level.

Council candidate for Moreland, Meghan Hopper believes it is important for women to run for council.

“In Moreland we’ve been lucky, over the last term we’ve had  five women out of the 11 councillors, so that’s been really good to see that diversity in Moreland,” she said.

She stated that one reason women are under represented in council is because of the long work hours.

Monash University’s Centre of Women’s Studies and Gender Research, Dr Amy Dobson agrees that social structures around parenting make it more difficult for women in politics.

“It’s the same limitations that prevent women getting into politics that prevent them from getting into a lot of work forces, which is gender ideologies about what women are good at and what they are capable of,” she said.

The Victorian Government aims to have at least one woman candidate in 90 per cent of Victoria’s 297 local governments by 2016.

Timeline of the history of women and government in Australia

Australia is ranked 45th in the world for women in parliaments
Click to enlarge

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About Saúl A. Zavarce

Venezuelan-Australian journalist and international relations academic.

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