Only 27% of councillors across Wales are female following last week’s local elections, according to campaigners.

Gender equality charity Chwarae Teg and Wales’ leading pro-democracy organisation, ERS Cymru, have found that of 1254 newly elected councillors just 359 are women.

The results follow stark warnings before the elections that May 4th’s elections could lead to a diversity crisis in our councils [1].

In Ynys Mȏn only 10% of councillors are female, while Blaenau Gwent and Ceredigion also show a ‘startlingly low’ proportion of female councillors at just below 12% each.

These figures show a severe lack of progress from the 2012 elections, where 26% of councillors were women, with female representation ‘flatlining’.

Jess Blair, Director of ERS Cymru, said:

“These results have confirmed our fears that councils across Wales will be once again overwhelmingly dominated by men for the next five years. With barely a quarter of councillors being women, the full range of talents and experiences we have in Wales will simply not be reflected in our councils.

“Ultimately this is a hammer blow for local democracy, with voters not being effectively mirrored by the people supposed to represent them. The failure of parties and local authorities to take action to encourage and facilitate more women becoming councillors lets voters down and does Welsh politics a huge disservice.”

“This is part of a broader democratic malaise in our local authorities – let’s not forget that 93 seats were uncontested at this election, while many feel their votes do not count. Alongside an outdated voting system and low levels of public knowledge about politics, it’s not a recipe for positive politics.”

“The low levels of turnout at last week’s election are another sign of this. But it is no wonder so few people vote in local elections when councils continue to be dominated by councillors that do not reflect the communities they serve”.

Cerys Furlong, Chief Executive of Chwarae Teg, said:

“These figures show that political parties have not taken the need for equality and diversity in local government seriously. It is no longer acceptable for parties to say they support diversity without making the necessary changes to ensure equality is achieved. I find it frankly embarrassing that so little progress has been made on this issue, and that in the 21st Century we seem content to allow the status quo to persist, where women’s voices are largely absent from decision making in our councils.”

“Prior to the election we warned of a diversity crisis looming and that is absolutely what we can see now. The time for warm words has passed, and we need to see clear and firm action from all political parties in Wales. That needs to start today to ensure that by the next local election in 2022, all parties are fielding a diverse range of candidates, representative of the communities they serve and 50% of the population who are women.”

Number and percentage of female councillors

Council Number of female councillors % of female councillors
Blaenau Gwent 5 11.9
Bridgend 17 31.5
Caerphilly 19 26
Cardiff 24 32
Carmarthenshire 23 31.1
Ceredigion 5 11.9
Conwy 16 27.1
Denbighshire 11 23.4
Flintshire 19 27.1
Gwynedd 17 22.7
Merthyr Tydfil 4 12.1
Monmouthshire 15 34.9
Neath Port Talbot 21 32.8
Newport 15 30
Pembrokeshire 8 13.3
Powys 23 31.5

 

Rhondda Cynon Taf 31 41.3
Swansea 30 41.7
Torfaen 16 36.4
Vale of Glamorgan 17 36.2
Wrexham 10 19.2
Ynys Môn 3 10
TOTALS 359  
  27.8  

 

Percentage of female councillors by party

Party % Female
Independent 20.9
Plaid Cymru 26.2
Conservative 28.1
Labour 32.4
Lib Dem 33.9

For any queries, please contact Natasha (Natasha.davies@chwaraeteg.com).