Mandurah Council Still Struggles With Gender Balance

Marion Blair  wants to see more women on local councils.
Marion Blair wants to see more women on local councils.

FEMALE representation in the City of Mandurah has improved, but like many councils across the metropolitan area, women remain under-represented.

In the City of Mandurah, there are five women in the 15-member council.

Figures revealed in the Committee for Perth and University of WA’s latest FACTBase report showed the percentage of women on Mandurah councils from 1999 to 2013 was 31.9 per cent.

The City of Cockburn, Town of Cambridge and City of Perth had the highest percentage of women elected to council.

About half of councillors voted in to the Town of Cambridge during the eight elections between 1999 and 2013 were women.

In Perth, it was 47.2 per cent and Cockburn 46.7 per cent.

Elsewhere, the City of Fremantle (17.5 per cent), City of Swan (20.7 per cent), City of Stirling (23.6 per cent) and City of Canning (25.8 per cent) had the lowest percentage of female representation on their councils.

Women generally were more successful at winning a seat than men, making up 29.7 per cent of candidates but winning 32.7 per cent of positions in 2013.

Committee for Perth chief executive Marion Fulker said there appeared a simple solution to getting a more even share of males and females on metropolitan councils: get more women to stand in local government elections.

“But this is easier said than done because there are clearly a number of barriers that still need to be overcome,” she said.

Former Mandurah City councillor and Australian Local Government Women’s Association of WA founder Marion Blair said there should be more women on council. But she concedes the big commitment may not work for everyone.

“Thirty-two, thirty three per cent is too low, especially when women make up 51 per cent of the population,” she said.

“But being on local government is a big job.

“Your workspace if often your home or wherever you have space.

“That may not be for everyone, but women have a huge role to play and a different way of looking at things that is important.”