Only 33% of Councillors are women and this has been glacially slow to improve over the past 20 years. A report into Local Government by the Fawcette society found that; "At the current rate of progress in English county councils, it will take 48 years for us to reach gender parity. In Welsh councils, it would take 82 years, we can't wait that long".
There are brilliant women from all backgrounds in the Liberal Democrats and May 2023 will be the biggest set of local elections in this Parliament. This is a major opportunity to get many more women elected into public office. One of the reasons I hear from women that are put off standing is that the personal cost of running for election is a concern, especially for those that have caring responsibilities, financial constraints or additional needs. Elect Her are doing something to help women take that first step.
Electher are a non partisan organisation that provide events, workshops, resources and support networks to encourage women to take their first steps into becoming politically active and then throughout their political journey. Over 5,000 women have attended their workshops supporting women to be elected at all levels of Government and from all parties and none.
The organisation has just opened applications to their May 2023 local election grant scheme. Their mission is to; "support a new generation of women into elected office. Working class women, Disabled women and Women of Colour - all of whom have plenty of skills and life experience to draw on, are too often ignored and unheard in political spaces."
The grants are open but not limited to women from under-represented groups that are actively seeking to address issues in their local area. This could be helping at a foodbank, looking out for vulnerable residents, lobbying for better mental health provision, speaking up for accessibility needs for disabled people amongst other things. In our local parties we should be supporting women to apply so that in 2023 we see more brilliant community champions become Councilors.
All information and guidance as to how the grant process works and eligibility can be found on their website on the link here