Lack of Female Candidates a ‘Serious Democratic Deficit’ – Barnard

With less than a week before voters go to the polls, Lib Dem mayoral candidate Dr Kay Barnard has urged more women to consider standing for election in the future.

In England women make up:

  •     32% of local councillors
  •     12.3% of local authority leaders (compared to 16.6% ten years ago)
  •     17% of elected mayors

If elected, Kay Barnard would be the second female Liberal Democrat Mayor, following in the footsteps of Dorothy Thornhill, who was lasted elected Mayor of Watford Borough Council in 2014 (having also been elected in 2002, 2006 and 2010).

Dr Kay Barnard said:

“I am very often asked why I am standing in this election. As well as standing on a platform of a ‘six to fix’ manifesto with a genuine desire to be the mayor for all of Bristol; I also put myself forward because candidates standing for political office should reflect the diverse peoples and cultures of the area they are seeking to represent. Yet the continuing exclusion of women from local politics in Bristol is a serious democratic deficit.

“It is a sad fact that women are under-represented. Things are slowly improving but it cannot be ignored that in the two mayoral elections in Bristol to date (in 2012 and in a few days’ time) there has been a total of twenty-eight candidates. Just three of the candidates to put their name forward have been women. Having more women involved in elected positions, whether that be as a mayor of the city or as local ward representatives, is very important, not only as a matter of principle but because diversity brings with it different skills and judgments.”

Natalie Jester-Carter, a Lib Dem candidate standing in Windmill Hill ward in the local elections, added:

“There are many factors why women are put off from having their name appear on the ballot paper; the long hours and difficulties of balancing a family life or separate working career, the subtle pressures of working in a male-dominated environment or even just the practicalities of having enough money and resources to get actively involved in the community in the first place. I hope that by standing for election I can inspire and encourage the vast pool of talented women across all sectors of our society to follow in my lead!”

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