TO ACHIEVE a fairer and greener Glasgow, we have to celebrate and promote the different skills and experiences that newly elected women councillors and councillors with caring responsibilities bring to their roles at Glasgow City Council

Local government in Glasgow benefits from drawing on the widest possible pool of capable, vibrant, energetic and engaged citizens, with a commitment to local people and a passion for justice.

With women making up half of the city’s population, it is desirable that they are equally represented. There has been progress, although this has been slow and recent evidence suggests that it has stalled.

Women are only 31 of the 85 councillors elected on May 5. The traditional masculine networks and environments persist with women remaining at 36% of the total number of councillors.

Change is needed to achieve equal participation in political representation at the next local council election. We must live up to our existing promises of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, to truly level the playing field for the benefit of all. 

More can be done to ensure that the council promotes the benefits to democracy and to the work of the council of having a diverse and representative body of councillors. The variety of experiences, knowledge and skills brings a greater range of ideas to the table about what matters most and helps find the potential solutions to local issues. 

By making changes to the way councils operate to address the barriers that councillors experience who have parental and/or caring responsibilities, we can provide an environment that is better and more attractive for all.

A growing percentage of the workforce are parents or carers for dependent children or elderly relatives. It is the reality that councillors are increasingly likely to have other caring responsibilities due to the aging population.

In this new five-year council term, there is a need for continued support and training for women who have been elected, in order to enable them to develop their knowledge, skills and networks to progress in local government.

There is increasing expectations on councillors to be visible and accessible to the public 24/7 and through social media. We have to ensure that women councillors are able to thrive in the face of many pressures.

We have to work to ensure that the council effectively supports women, parents and carers to enter, progress and lead in local government. 

The council’s policies, practices and systems have to provide the support to women and those with caring responsibilities into leadership positions to develop gender balance and diversity across the council’s leadership.

There is much work to be done by all political parties to increase the representation of women in local politics. The extent to which support for female candidates via training and mentoring continues throughout their political career could be the focus of further work by political parties.

In Glasgow, the equal participation of women, parents and carers in political decision-making is essential to improving people’s lives across all of our communities.