Girl power in the chamber

Pauline Tarrant (far right) is not standing for election this time.
Pauline Tarrant (far right) is not standing for election this time.

Last October, Ayse Martli, Christine Cunningham, Margaret Hall and Pauline Tarrant became the highest percentage of female representatives in the council’s history at 40 per cent.

Councillor Martli, a political science graduate, said the percentage of women and the diversity of the council allowed it to navigate the early days.

“I think when we look at the demographics as well, yes there are four females but there are also different age groups and experience and I think that really adds a lot of value to our council,” she said.

Cr Cunningham agreed the new council would preface a more empowered council in the future.

“It’s good role modelling,” she said.

“I am about to become a grandmother and I am a mother to a 10-year-old and after swearing in we snuck into the chamber and she sat on the mayor’s seat… I think for the next generation it will be completely normal that we are young mums, and working women.”

Cr Hall said the group kept her youthful.

“I’m really enjoying working with the younger girls… I have always worked with younger people and I think that has kept me young,” she said.

Cr Tarrant said she hoped the gender diversity would spread to ethnicity and future councils would reflect the cultural Canning.

“At the moment we have a great age range, we have greater gender diversity in the council, but it would be good if there was a greater ethnic diversity as well,” she said.

All women praised their fellow councillors and the extensive training they had received.

“There is still room for improvement, and hopefully the diversity of the council at the moment means that it will inspire people to get involved for next time,” Cr Tarrant said.

She urged the public to come and participate in their local government in the meantime.

“We would really like to welcome more people to the events, getting more people involved would be fantastic… the doors are always open,” she said.

Cr Hall extended a reminder to ratepayers to get in touch with councillors if they wish to discuss any concerns or issues.