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Centre for Women & Democracy
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Women still mising from local government leadership

7 Jul, 2015

The number of women leading local authorities in England has risen to 48 - an increase or just one on the 2014/15 municipal year.

Interim findings from the Centre for Women & Democracy's research on women in local leadership roles (to be published in the autumn) also show that:

  • There are 14 new women leaders - and 59 new men;
  • 14.4% of council leaders in England are women - an increase from 14% last year;
  • 16% of Labour leaders are women, and 13% of Conservative. These levels are about the same as last year;
  • Women are most likely to lead a London borough (25%) or a County Council (18%) and least likely to lead a Metropolitan borough (9%).
  • Just 4 of the 16 elected mayors in England are women.

Commenting on the findings CFWD's Director, Nan Sloane, said: 'It's disappointing to find that there is virtually no progress in improving women's representation at this key level of democracy. Not only does it have implications at local level, but it will also impact on the new devolution arrangements - very few women will be in the room when the decisions are made, and we already know that women are less likely to be elected to roles such as Executive Mayor or Police & Crime Commissioner. All the parties need to think urgently about what they're going to do about this.'

Elsewhere in Europe women have been making high-profile gains recently; Paris, Barcelona and Madrid have all elected women mayors.

In 2011 CFWD published a detailed report on women in local government leadership in England, and in 2012 produced a detailed study of the Police & Crime Commissioner elections.