Election of Women to Local Government

Our minister women awards 2019The NSW Government is committed to inspiring and empowering more women to stand for their local community and nominate to run for their local council at the September 2021 elections.

Did you know that women represent less than a third of all councillors and mayors serving on the 128 councils in NSW?

Women from all walks of life are being encouraged to put their hand up for election to help ensure local councils are representative of the communities they serve.

If you have a strong sense of community and are keen to make a difference in your local neighbourhood, then you should consider nominating for the 4 September 2021 local government elections.

Local councils are the level of government closest to the community. They provide key infrastructure, facilities and services to local residents and are integral to improving the lifestyle and amenity of local communities.

Councillors represent their local community’s needs, wants and aspirations and make important decisions on behalf of their local community.

You don’t need any formal qualifications and you will receive training, support, expenses and fees if you are elected.

There is nothing more rewarding than serving in the level of government closest to the local community.

Further information

 

 

Visit the following websites:

nsw electoral commission logo      www.elections.nsw.gov.au

Local Government NSW Logo     www.lgnsw.org.au

    www.algwa.org.au

    wfea.org.au

OLG Election Of Women_Key Dates - table only

Champions of Change – Our Women Ambassadors

Ten inspirational former and current female councillors have been enlisted as ambassadors to encourage more women to stand for their community at the next local government elections:

Image of Shelley Hancock
  • Shelley Hancock, Minister for Local Government, former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly (the first woman to hold the position), former Shoalhaven Councillor
Image of Katrina Humphries
Image of Kristy McBain
  • Kristy McBain, Bega Valley Councillor, Federal Member for Eden-Monaro
Image of Clover Moore
image of Kerryn Phelps Image of Marianne Saliba
Image of Bronnie Taylor
  • Bronnie Taylor, Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women, former Cooma-Monaro Councillor
Image of Linda Scott
  • Linda Scott, City of Sydney Councillor, Local Government NSW President
Image of Lucy Turnbull
  • Lucy Turnbull, former Lord Mayor of Sydney (the first woman to hold the position)
Image of Susan Wynne

The women are spearheading a new promotional campaign featuring a series of inspiring videos in which they speak about their positive experiences in local government and their proudest achievements for their local community.

The women, from metropolitan, regional and rural councils, also speak about how they overcame real-life challenges such as balancing family and work commitments.

The videos are being widely promoted on websites and social media channels of the NSW Government, local councils, peak bodies and other key stakeholders.

Listen to their amazing stories.

For more inspiring videos, visit the Office of Local Government’s YouTube page.

Information and Resources

  • Women for Election workshops

    The NSW Government is partnering with Women for Election Australia to stage a series of workshops to encourage more women to stand for their community at the next local government elections.

    The Government is providing $100,000 to hold workshops to provide potential female candidates with information and advice about running for election and serving on their local council.

    Women for Election Australia is a not-for-profit organisation which shares the Government’s vision of a gender balanced local government sector and is committed to inspiring and supporting more women to stand for public office.

    The workshops are part of the NSW Government’s Election of Women to Local Government Action Plan.

    The Office of Local Government and Women NSW are working with Women for Election Australia to deliver the workshops. Further details about the workshops are available on the Women for Election Australia website.

  • A Snapshot of Women in Local Government

    After each local government election the Office of Local Government reviews and analyses diversity information provided by councillors and candidates.

    Candidate and Councillor Diversity Report 2017 - Report Cover imageThe NSW Candidate and Councillor Diversity Report 2017 provides an interesting snapshot of women in local government:

    • The 2016-17 council elections saw the highest percentage of female mayors on Office of Local Government records
    • Of all mayors, 28 per cent are female compared to the previous high in 2008 of 23 per cent. In 2012 just 19 per cent of mayors were female
    • At the 2016-17 elections, 38 per cent of all candidates were female, up from 36 per cent in 2012 and 33 per cent in 2008
    • After the 2016-17 elections, 31 per cent of councillors were female, up from 28 per cent in 2012 and 27 per cent in 2008
    • In 2016-17, the actual number of women who stood for election dropped by three per cent. This compared to growth between the 2008 and 2012 elections of nine per cent
    • At more than 90 per cent of NSW councils, less than half the councillors are women
    • Four councils in NSW had no female councillors elected at the 2016 and 2017 local government elections.

     

    Top 10 NSW councils for the highest female participation*

    Council

    % of councillors who are women

    City of Sydney

    70

    Bega Valley

    67

    North Sydney

    60

    Woollahra

    60

    Strathfield

    57

    Camden

    56

    Lane Cove

    56

    Narrandera

    56

    Coffs Harbour

    50

    Hawkesbury

    50

    *Based on the results of the 2016 and 2017 local government elections
  • Election of Women to Local Government Action Plan

    The Office of Local Government identified five key barriers to female participation in local government at an elected representative level including:

    • awareness of local government and the role of councils and councillors
    • feeling unqualified
    • balancing carer/work commitments
    • investment of time and money, and
    • perceived culture of councils and councillor conduct.

     

    A range of measures including legislative change, workshops, guidelines, recognition schemes, funding, and marketing campaigns have previously been undertaken by the Government to help address these barriers.

    In 2019 the Minister for Local Government established the Election of Women to Local Government Working Group to proactively identify strategies to address the barriers and increase female participation in local government.

    Election of Women to Local Government Workshops were held at Parliament House on 6 February 2020 and 12 November 2019 and attended by representatives from the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Australian Local Government Women’s Association, Country Women’s Association, Lake Macquarie City Council, Local Government NSW, Office of Local Government, Women for Election, and Women NSW.

    Womens forumThe working group formally endorsed an Election of Women to Local Government Action Plan including:

    • A promotional campaign with high-profile former and current councillors speaking about their positive experiences in local government
    • A range of useful resources and information sessions for potential female candidates
    • Utilising local MPs to publicly promote the role of councillors and encourage women to stand for council
    • Considering mandatory payment of carer’s expenses for councillors
    • Encouraging councils to set meeting times that support councillors with carer responsibilities
    • Exploring remote access for council meetings
    • Training in social media and time and diary management
    • Mentoring programs for female mayors and councillors, and
    • Encouraging schools to hold excursions to their local councils to generate interest among students.

     

    The action plan is designed to promote the success of past and present female councillors and encourage and support more women to stand for their local council.

    It also seeks to make it easier for women to serve as councillors with family-friendly council meeting times, the payment of carer’s expenses, and training and mentoring programs.

    The Office of Local Government will continue to work with key stakeholders to implement the measures in the action plan.

  • Help promote female participation in the NSW local government sector

    The Office of Local Government has prepared a range of promotional materials to encourage more women to stand for their community at the council elections on 4 September 2021.

    Social media tile women in local government

    Councils, peak bodies and other key stakeholders can download these resources for free and share them on their own communications channels including:

    • Twelve videos for websites and social media channels
    • A poster and flyer in various designs to distribute in community facilities such as libraries, community centres, pools and childcare centres
    • A website banner in five different sizes
    • Text for websites
    • An email signature banner in four different designs for use by staff and councillors
    • A range of social media tiles and posts/tweets for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

     

    Click here to download the free promotional materials.

  • Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government

    The Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government celebrate the dedication and commitment of female staff and councillors in local councils across NSW.

    In addition to recognising the significant contribution of award winners, they also aim to encourage more women to take on leadership roles in local government.

    The awards also recognise councils and senior staff who are doing all they can to encourage female participation.

    In 2020 the NSW Government announced new award categories to better reflect contemporary approaches to gender equality and changes in the local government sector.

    The new award categories for both metropolitan councils and regional/rural councils are:

    Minister’s Award – for a female councillor or council staff member for delivering quality outcomes and innovation in helping women in their local community

    Employment Diversity Award – a successful council program to increase female participation in senior leadership roles or at the elected representative level

    Elected Representative Award – a councillor who has advanced the position of female elected representatives

    Champion of Change Award – a general manager or senior manager who has excelled in supporting and encouraging women’s participation at their council

    Alternative Pathways Award – a female staff member who is the first to enter a role traditionally held by men or is breaking down gender stereotypes

    Young Achiever’s Award – an outstanding trainee/apprentice (aged under 25).

    The awards are hosted by the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Women.

     

    Winners of the 2020 Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government

    The winners of the 2020 Awards were announced in a video ceremony by the Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock, Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women Bronnie Taylor, and former City of Sydney councillor and social advocate Kathryn Greiner.

    The winners are:

    Alternative Pathways Award – Metro
    • Sandra Kubecka, Director of Community Assets, Camden Council

    Alternative Pathways Award – Regional/Rural
    • Kim White, Local Emergency Management Officer, Shoalhaven City Council

    Champion of Change Award – Metro
    • Monica Barone, Chief Executive Officer, City of Sydney

    Champion of Change Award – Regional/Rural
    • Suzanne Richmond, Human Resources Manager, Tweed Shire Council

    Elected Representative Award – Metro
    • Cr Rachelle Harika, City of Canterbury Bankstown

    Elected Representative Award – Regional/Rural
    • Cr Phyllis Miller OAM, Mayor, Forbes Shire Council

    Employment Diversity Award – Metro
    • City of Sydney

    Employment Diversity Award – Regional/Rural
    • Wagga Wagga City Council

    Young Achiever’s Award – Metro
    • Elizabeth Pirolo, Trainee, Liverpool City Council

    Young Achiever’s Award – Regional/Rural
    • Annabell Hooghuis, Apprentice Nursery Officer Landcare, Lake Macquarie City Council

    Minister for Local Government Award for Women
    • Cr Lilliane Brady OAM, Mayor, Cobar Shire Council

     

    Previous winners – 2008 to 2019