Sunday, June 23, 2024

ALGWA to deliver female leadership workshops ahead of elections

With voters set to head to the polls for local government elections in September, the NSW Government has announced new support to encourage more women to consider running for their local council.

The Office of Local Government and Women NSW have jointly committed $160,000 in funding for two women’s organisations to host a series of candidate information workshops targeted at underrepresented groups of women.

The Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) NSW Branch and Women for Election will deliver workshops covering leadership skills, how to run a successful campaign as well as the roles and responsibilities of elected councillors.

“For too long women have been underrepresented in local government – as mayors, councillors and in senior management,” said ALGWA NSW Branch President, Councillor Penny Pedersen.

“Given more women than men live in NSW, we must encourage and support a greater number of women to take their place in local government.

“ALGWA’s forums introduce women, many of them already leaders in our community organisations, to elected women councillors, who can pass on the detail of their election journey and the importance of their role in local government.”

Councillor Pedersen said the workshops will be delivered by women with lived experience as political candidates, as well as facilitators who have served or worked in local government.

They will be held at multiple locations in Sydney and in regional and rural areas to ensure women around NSW have access to these valuable training opportunities.

These will include dedicated workshops run by First Nations trainers to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to run for local government.

NSW Minister for Local Government, Ron Hoenig said that providing funding for these organisations was part of a wider campaign by the Office of Local Government to encourage greater diversity in candidate representation at the upcoming elections.

“One of the real strengths of our state is the diversity of our communities, and we need to see this diversity better reflected in the make-up of our councils,” he said.

“A lack of confidence or information about what it means to be a councillor can hold a lot of people back from putting their hand up, especially women.

“We hope with this support, these workshops can encourage more women and people from diverse backgrounds to take the plunge and represent their communities in the elections this September.”

The most recent Candidate and Councillor Diversity Report shows the number of female councillors rose from 31.2% to 39% at the 2021 Local Government elections.

The report also shows 3.9% of councillors were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, 10.1% of councillors were linguistically diverse and 4.2% of councillors were aged 18-29.

“Extensive work was done in 2021 to inspire and equip women of all backgrounds to run in the local government elections, which resulted in an unprecedented lift in the number of women elected to councils in NSW,” said Women for Election CEO, Licia Heath.

“Women for Election are excited to build on that work in 2024. Our events in Western Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Tamworth will inspire women to see themselves as future political candidates as we run into the September council elections.

“Importantly, our partnership with the Turnstone Collective will see First Nations women getting access to dedicated training workshops to support their local government ambitions and campaigns.”

Information about the workshops can be found below:

Women for Election: https://wfe.org.au/events/
ALGWA: https://algwa.org.au/events/forums.php

The Office of Local Government’s Candidate and Councillor Diversity Report can be viewed here: https://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Candidate-and-Councillor-Diversity- Report-2021-22-.pdf.

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