For the first time ever - West Wales council has a female majority

Cardigan Town Council has – for the first time in centuries – elected more women than men. The Council is now made up of seven female members and six male members.

While this was welcomed by councillors both past and present, it did bring to light the fact that there a huge lack of diversity in local government in other parts of Wales. Wynford Jones, the council's clerk, said that it was the first time there are more women than men on the town council.

Jones went further to say that it was the first time in the history of the town for there to be more women than men. Historically, the town has always been male-dominated., with only two lady members on it the last time.

Elaine Evans, Marilyn Farmer, Debra Griffiths, Sian Maehrlein, Catrin Miles, Yvonne O’Neill and Shan Williams are the seven women that now make up the town’s council.

Ex- councillor and former mayor, Mark Cole commented that this was indeed very good news as it was a far better representation of the town. It is a positive step in the right direction. He went on to say that whatever people's individual politics may be, this change is greatly to be welcomed by all.

Traditionally politics is seen as male-dominated, and this is clearly shown in other areas such as Ceredigion Council where there are only five female councillors, one less than in the last five years.

It certainly seems that a female majority in town and community councils in west Wales is a rarity. Some examples are seen in Carmarthen, where the local council consists of 15 men and just 3 women. Lampeter also has only three women on the council.

In Carmarthenshire, the council is made up of just 31% women, with 23 out of 74 being female. In Ceredigion there are only 5 females out of 42, making it the second lowest in percentages in Wales at less than 12%.

Catrin Miles, who has been a member of Cardigan Town Council since 2008 welcomes the fact that there are now more women than men, but also says that, at the end of the day, it really does not matter whether the council has more or less women on it. What does matter is that they are all working together for the greater good of the local community.

Miles does agree that something which is good to see, is that more women are playing more roles in politics, and that can only be a good sign, and a positive move forward.

Unfortunately, this attitude is not felt by everyone. The Gender Equality Charity Chwarae Teg are adamant that the lack of women in Welsh politics is 'downright embarrassing'. The Charity points out that of the 1254 newly elected councillors throughout Wales, only 359 are women.

The Charity feels that political parties have not listened to suggestions that equality and diversity in local governments should be taken seriously.

Cerys Furlong, chief executive of the Charity says that no longer is it acceptable that organisations say they support diversity, without then following this up and making the changes needed to ensure equality is achieved.

Following on to that statement, Furlong feels that it is embarrassing that so little progress has in fact been made, and that, in this day and age councils are still content to let the status quo stand, with women largely being absent from them.

Furlong is of the opinion that the time for words has now passed, and the need for action is stronger than ever. It is time to see clear and firm action coming from all political parties in Wales.

Looking on a county scale, no single authority in Wales has more than 50% female representation. Cardigan is showing the way, starting with a more local diverse representation.


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