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Centre for Women & Democracy
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Record low level of women candidates in mayoral elections

5 Apr, 2012

Just 14% of candidates for the May 2012 batch of mayoral elections are women. This is the lowest level ever, and represents a fall of a third on 2011.

This May there will be elections for three mayors - in London, Liverpool and Salford.

There are no women candidates at all in Liverpool, and only one of the three major parties – the Conservatives in Salford – are fielding a female candidate in any of the elections.

CFWD Director Nan Sloane said: 'This year's mayoral elections are both shocking and disappointing in terms of women candidates. Elected mayors have considerable powers and their decisions have a major effect on the communities in which women live and the services they pay for and receive. We urgently need a much better understanding of why women are not contesting these elections and what can be done to improve the situation. Otherwise there is a real possibility that women will find themselves largely excluded from local and regional decision-making.'

3 May will also see mayoral referendums held in a further 10 local authorities (Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield) with any elections resulting from a 'Yes' vote being held on 15 November 2012. In addition, Doncaster will hold a referendum on whether or not to abolish the elected mayor and return to the council leader system.

The four women standing are:

Siobhan Benita           Independent         London

Karen Garrido            Conservative        Salford

Jenny Jones               Green                  London

Pat Ward                  Independent         Salford

The full report on Mayoral Candidates, including a review of candidates between 2004 and 2012, can be downloaded here.