Wales

Women outnumbered in public roles, Chwarae Teg boss says

Cerys Furlong
Image caption Cerys Furlong: "Political parties need to take a robust look at themselves"

Political parties need to show some "tough love" in a bid to encourage women to take up prominent roles in public life, a leading gender equality charity has said.

Chwarae Teg boss Cerys Furlong said women were "outnumbered" by men in many areas of public life.

Just over 25% of Wales' 1,264 councillors are women with 25 women among 60 AMs, and nine out of 40 MPs.

And among Wales' top 100 businesses only 2% of chief executives are women.

Ms Furlong said: "Politics is very visible and if there were more female politicians, then other women and organisations could draw inspiration from this.

"The way our politicians are selected is governed by the political parties who choose candidates.

"We've seen various different models such as twinning, zipping and all women shortlists."

She added: "Parties all commit themselves to seeking greater diversity but we're not seeing that happen quick enough.

"The political parties need to take a robust look at themselves and be willing to have those difficult conversations with their local members and say 'if we want this change it's going to mean some tough love' to make it happen," she added.

Image caption Aileen Richards: "You've got to give them confidence"

Two years ago, in an attempt to address the issue, the WRU appointed its first female board member, former businesswomen Aileen Richards.

Speaking to The Wales Report programme, Mrs Richards said she did not believe in quotas or legislation as a way to tackle the issue.

"Particularly with women, you've got to give them confidence, you've got to give them mentoring, you've got to give them encouragement," she said.

"Because we know all the research shows women are less confident standing for positions, whatever field that's in."

She added: "You've got to persuade people it's the right thing to do.

"So there has to be a belief we will run a better board, we will run a better business, we'll run a better parliament, whatever it might be because it's more diverse."

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