Local government has a powerful impact on all our lives. Councils spend £94bn of taxpayers’ money each year, almost a quarter of public spending; they employ over 1.5 million people, 78% of whom are women. The services they provide determine the support we receive from our first years to our dying days; and women are more dependent on those services.
But despite this, women remain underrepresented in all levels of local decision making. With budgets being cut dramatically, councils gaining new powers and the creation of new combined authorities and directly-elected metro mayors, it is vital that women are represented around the decision making table.
With so much real power over women’s lives at stake, the Fawcett Society and the LGiU, funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, have partnered to ask: does local government work for women?
This interim report from the Commission outlines key findings from data analysis of women’s representation in councils across England and Wales, carried out by the Centre for Women and Democracy. It also presents the findings of an LGiU survey of 2,304 councillors, carried out between December 2016 and January 2017.