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15.09.17

Male LCR cabinet urged to give up their seats for female nominees

The entirely male cabinet at the Liverpool City Region (LCR) have this week been urged to give up their seats by the Women’s Leadership Group (WLG) in a drive towards a more gender inclusive authority.

Writing in an open letter, the WLG argued that it was “appalled” that the new LCR cabinet was made up entirely of men, and suggested that to redress the balance any cabinet member with voting rights should demonstrate their commitment by nominating a woman to take their place.

The letter also makes reference to the fact that Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and Liverpool City Council mayor Joe Anderson had both set a precedent by demanding their cabinets be made up of at least 50% women.

It also stated that LCR mayor Steve Rotheram had not responded to the private requests of the group, although he did reportedly say this was not an issue that he had the power to change.

“As feminists and believers of equality in 2017, we didn’t expect to be asking a man to ‘give up his seat for a woman’ – but that’s what we are asking of you,” the letter said.

“We ask that all LCR cabinet members with voting rights, demonstrate their power and commitment to redressing the enduring gender imbalance and lack of diversity by nominating a woman from your cabinet to take your place. 

“We know there are great elected and accountable women in every cabinet and council in the region who you already invest your confidence in – give them your seat,” the letter continued.

“Let’s show the next generation we are serious about their future and give them diverse, inspiring leaders and role models to be proud of.”

The WLG also argued that this was not just a social and political argument, but an economic one, as women represent 51% of communities, and that failing to have equal representation is a failure to “harness the energy and ideas of innovators across the LCR”.

“We expect this from the Tories,” the WLG concluded. “We don’t expect it from Labour – the party of equality. Seven men have decided that none of the hundreds of thousands of Merseyside women are good enough to join them in cabinet.”

Numerous studies recently have laid bare the shocking state of affairs for gender representation in local government.

An IPPR Report in August warned that another 3,000 female councillors would need to be added to achieve gender parity in councils.

And the Fawcett Society also sent the damning message that gender inclusion was actually “going backwards” as counties wouldn’t be equal until 2065 at the current rate of change.

The government has also not shown any signs of wanting to drive for real change, as last week it rejected six proposals to improve women’s representation in both the Commons and local government.

Comments

Mr T   18/09/2017 at 11:54

Equality of outcome is not good for any business, that should very much include Local Authorities and Government departments. Surly you want the best person for the post regardless of race, creed, or colour. Equality of Opportunity - Yes, Equality of Outcome - No Stop the rot before the rots stops us all.

AJ   25/09/2017 at 16:58

This is so called positive discrimination and demonstrates its failings. Everyone has an equal chance to put themselves forward for selection and then election. However, we still have more than 50% of councillors being male. On that basis alone, a council with 10% female councillors can only really expect 10% of cabinet members to be female. If it is much higher, then it would suggest discrimination against men. Looking at Liverpool City region, it covers Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. Halton has 56 Councillors with 37 men and 19 women Knowsley has 45 Councillors with 25 men and 20 women Liverpool has 91 Councillors with 48 men and 43 women Sefton has 66 Councillors with 41 men and 25 women St Helens has 48 Councillors with 31 men and 17 women Wirral has 66 Councillors with 46 men and 20 women The average across the board is 39% female, so yes the Cabinet statistically is not representative of this group. The balance of probability is that the selection has been biased. Surely, the real answer is to select the best candidate for the role and be blind to age, sex, race etc.

Allison Bacher   02/10/2017 at 12:53

I totally agree, the real answer is to select the best candidate for the job and be blind to age, sex, race etc as these are not indicators of skill or ability to deliver goals. It's capability that counts. I work with organisations to define and measure their job roles against business objectives and build high-performance teams. It is important to identify skills gaps and problems before they cost time and money. In almost 20 years, I have seen grade and pay appear gender related, but never skills. It's time to remove emotion from the topic and measure objectively. I would be delighted to discuss how if anyone is interested.

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