Monmouthshire has become the first local authority in Wales to commit to aiming for gender parity so elected councillors are as reflective as possible of the residents they represent. The motion put forward by Council Leader Richard John was passed unanimously at yesterday’s (Thursday 24th June) meeting of full Council, with an amendment recognising protected characteristics.

Councillors across the four political groups agreed to take steps to make Monmouthshire the first local authority to achieve gender parity at next year’s elections.

Monmouthshire already leads the way with a Cabinet that is fully gender balanced.  An improved representation was announced last month when the newly appointed Council Leader, Councillor Richard John confirmed the appointment of Councillor Sara Jones as Deputy Leader, along with Councillor Lisa Dymock becoming Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing and Social Justice in addition to the current female cabinet members.

Councillor Richard John said, “Monmouthshire is already one of the most diverse councils in Wales with 35% female membership and councillors in their 30s and 80s and everything in between.”

Council Leader, Cllr. Richard John

“We’ve got some brilliant female role models across the parties, who challenge the typical image of local government and encourage more people to get involved in local politics,” continued Cllr John.

“No council in Wales has ever achieved gender parity and many councils are almost exclusively older men, which in this day and age is bizarre, so we’ve agreed to aim to be the first to secure a properly inclusive local democracy.

“A council that is more reflective of our community as a whole is better placed to adequately represent the broad range of views and experiences of residents.

“There is a direct link between the composition of a council – and its activities – the subjects it debates, the policies it scrutinises and the decisions it makes.

“We’ve now agreed that gender parity is a goal that is worth striving for and that we will all take steps to ensure residents have a diverse range of candidates from which to choose next year.”