The Government has taken a series of measures to boost the number of women participating in public life, including establishing the Councillors' Commission to increase the diversity of Local Government Councillors so that communities are better represented.
The Commission was set up by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in February 2007 as an independent review to look at the incentives and barriers that encourage or deter people from standing for election as councillors.The Councillors Commission was chaired by Dr Jane Roberts DBE, former Leader of the London Borough of Camden. The Commission published its recommendations in its report Representing the future on 10 December 2007. The Government is currently considering the Commission's report and will be publishing a response later this year.
Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Women Councillors Taskforce
The Government has established a Taskforce to address the under representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Women Councillors. The Taskforce will be working closely with the Department of Communities and Local Government, who will soon be responding to the Councillors Commission report Representing the Future which made recommendations aimed at reducing barriers and increasing the incentives for people to stand and serve as councillors.The initiative lies at the heart of the Government's priorities for women which were set out last summer and included, increasing the number of BAME women on local councils.
BAME women account for less than 1% of England's 20,000 councillors. To be more representative of society as a whole, the number of BAME Women Councillors needs to be increased more than five-fold - from 168 of all councillors in England to nearer a thousand.The Taskforce is being chaired by Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green and will initially last for 12 months. The members will include BAME women councillors and former councillors from every region in England, as well as from Scotland and Wales.
The Taskforce will identify and take practical action to increase awareness and build confidence and skills; reach out into communities to encourage women to step forward to become local councillors; identify and tackle barriers within political parties; and reduce disadvantage and stereotyping from within and outside the communities.
The Taskforce will be supported in its work by the Ministers for Women and Equalities and secretariat will be provided by the Government Equalities Office.
More information on the Taskforce is available on the Government Equalities Office website.
To email the Taskforce team, click