Wales politics

Rosemary Butler launches training for women seeking public office

Rosemary Butler
Image caption Getting more women into key public roles is a top priority for Dame Rosemary Butler

An initiative to encourage more women to apply for key roles in Welsh public life has been launched at the Senedd.

It will offer mentoring, shadowing and training as part of Presiding Officer Dame Rosemary Butler's women in public life development scheme.

Only around 5% of council leaders and chief executives of companies in Wales are female.

Dame Rosemary said many women did not apply for public roles because they saw the bodies remained "a man's world".

An Equality and Human Rights Commission report, Who Runs Wales 2012, gave a snapshot of women's representation in key organisations. It said:

  • 4% of chief executives in the top 50 Welsh companies were female
  • 5% of council leaders
  • 25% of councillors
  • 10% of chief executives of assembly sponsored public bodies
  • 23% of local government chief executives
  • 18% of Welsh MPs

The new project will be run with Chwarae Teg, an organisation that promotes the economic development of women, and Cardiff Business School.

Media captionOnly around 5% of council leaders and chief executives of companies in Wales are female

Dame Rosemary said: "There are hundreds of women across Wales who would make fantastic school governors, magistrates or valued members of other public bodies.

"And many of them look at these public bodies and are put off when they see it remains a man's world.

"A mentor will often provide inspiration for women to take the next step. The mentors themselves don't have to be women.

"I want men and women, who are already involved in public life, to become mentors and help deliver this innovative programme."

A website was launched as part of the development scheme last October, the Women in Public Life web portal.

It gives information about public office, vacancies, training and advice from successful women.

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