The worst councils in Wales to be a woman

6th July 2012
6 Jul 2012


Press Release File: 
Contact Tel: 
020 7202 8601

The worst councils in Wales to be a woman

Wales' progress on getting more women elected is stalling, according to a new report released by the Electoral Reform Society today.

Women now constitute 26.3% of local councillors in Wales, lagging behind England at 31%. After this year’s local elections the figures show a gain of a paltry 1.5% from 2008 - a much slower rate of progress than in the last two elections where the ratio improved by around 3% each time.

There is however significant variation between councils’ performance. Six councils in Wales have achieved above the 30% ‘bare minimum’ mark while six have failed to reach 20%, and often by a significant margin. 

Best performing councils in terms of gender balance:

  • Swansea 38.9%
  • Cardiff 37.3%
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf 37.3%
  • Torfaen 34.1%
  • Monmouthshire 30.2%
  • Flintshire 30%

Worst performing councils in terms of gender balance:

  • Anglesey 5%
  • Merthyr Tydfil 12.1%
  • Ceredigion 14.3%
  • Pembrokeshire 15%
  • Wrexham 15.4%
  • Blaenau Gwent 16.7%

Stephen Brooks, Director of the Electoral Reform Society Wales, said:

This poor performance in the 2012 local elections shows that all parties need to pull their socks up and demonstrate some local leadership to make our councils properly representative.


Women in Wales deserve an equal say in how their taxes are spent and local parties’ performance in more competitive areas shows that where they do make the effort they can make a real difference.


We’re supporting the Counting Women IN campaign to demand 50/50 gender representation across Welsh politics. We can’t expect women to wait until their retirement for an equal say and where there is a political will, there is a way.



Download Women and Local Government Report

For more information contact the media office on mediaoffice@electoral-reform.org.uk or call 020 7202 8601.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Electoral Reform Society is an independent campaigning organisation working to champion the rights of voters and improve UK democracy.
  2. Find out more about our work at http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk
  3. For more on the Counting Women IN campaign: http://www.countingwomenin.org

New report from the Counting Women In campaign

3rd June 2011
3 Jun 2011
women's representation


A new report from the Counting Women In campaign has found that

  • Representation of women in local government remains stagnant after May elections.
  • At current rate of change we face another 150 years before women have an equal say
  • Political parties key to getting more women into town halls.

The report; Representative Democracy? Women in the 2011 Local Government Elections in England examined a third of the local authorities that held elections in May 2011 and found:

  1. There was a net increase across over 3,500 seats of just 20 women councillors
  2. At the present rate, it will be more than 150 years before there are equal numbers of men and women elected to English local councils
  3. There were 318 wards where all the main three party candidates were male, 14 times as many as the 22 wards where all candidates were female.
In a genuinely representative democracy women would not be regarded as an added extra
Nan Slaone, Report Author

Nan Sloane, report author and Director of the Centre for Women and Democracy, said:

Only 31 per cent of councillors are women, and this isn’t improving. If the annual increase in women councillors stays as it is – just 20 across the sample of 3,500 seats we looked at – it will be many generations before women have an equal voice in local decision-making. This is shocking, and goes against all the rhetoric that we hear so often about the need for more women in public life.

Since over 90 per cent of councillors belong to one of the big three parties, their candidate recruitment processes are key. But we also think that it’s astonishing that nobody has responsibility for the diversity of democracy nationally, and we shall be taking steps to ask government, the Electoral Commission and elections officers to do this, both in terms of providing support for the identification and training of candidates through a Democracy Diversity Fund, and by monitoring who is standing for election in the first place.

In a genuinely representative democracy women would not be regarded as an added extra. They’re 51 per cent of the population, they’re more likely to be both the users and the providers - as employees - of local services, and they pay equal taxes. It’s high time they were equally represented.'


Notes to editors:

The Electoral Reform Society, the Fawcett Society, the Hansard Society and the Centre for Women and Democracy have joined together to form the Counting Women In campaign to address the lack of women in politics. We believe the under-representation of women in Westminster, the devolved assemblies, and town halls around the UK represents a democratic deficit that undermines the legitimacy of decisions made in these chambers. Together, we will be fighting to ensure women have an equal presence and voice within our democratic system.

(1) In the 100 authorities surveyed, details of which can be found on page 23 of the report

(2) If, as is reasonable to assume, this sample is taken as representative of the overall trend.

(3) More details on page 3 of the report.