Call for more female representatives on Bristol City Council

May 05 2016

Call for more female representatives on Bristol City Council

AS a member of Bristol Women’s Commission, Bishopston Councillor Daniella Radice believes in equal representation of women in Bristol City Council.

Until this month, just over a third of city councillors were women - yet more than half of Bristol’s population is female.

This month, with the change in the electoral system to ‘all out elections’ residents will vote for all councillors throughout Bristol at the same time as the Mayoral election. Bristol Women’s Commission has asked all parties to make sure that half of their candidates are women in winnable seats.

Daniella Radice said: “A more diverse council would make better decisions and solve problems more effectively, because it would be able to draw upon a wider range of experience and insight.

“Women have put new issues on the agenda in the UK government, such as a focus on childcare for younger children.

“I think all parties do find it difficult to find women to put themselves forward, even where there are all-women shortlists in parties such as the Labour party. In the Green party we try to positively ask women and to keep nominations open as long as we can to encourage women.”

Ashley, Avonmouth, Bishopsworth, Bristol East and Bedminster wards all fall well short of the 50:50 aim and some political parties only field candidates in wards where they have a good chance of doing well.

Kate Bowman, Lib Dem candidate for Bishopston and Ashley Down, said: “The Lib Dems have had equality and diversity on the agenda for a long time. I’m personally thrilled to see so many female candidates standing for election in Bristol and to see such a strong leader in our mayoral candidate Dr Kay Barnard.

“I have been lucky to have support from my party to help to realise my ambitions of becoming a councillor. I do however realise that for some individuals outside of our party, particularly women and those with BAME backgrounds, mentoring may be lacking. I would like to see more support for females, in and out of political circles, to help them realise their ambitions too.”

The first woman to be elected on to Bristol City Council was Mabel Carole Tothill, who began representing the Easton ward on May 21, 1920.

Bristol Women’s Commission was established by Bristol Women’s Voice and the Mayor, George Ferguson, after he signed the European Charter for equality of women and men in local life. Bristol was the first city in the UK to do so.