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Women are scaling the heights at Cheshire East Council

Kath O’Dwyer, acting chief executive of Cheshire East Council, assesses the importance of the women in the authority’s workforce.

After speaking at a Cheshire East Council event on International Women’s Day, I started to think about just how much of an impact women make to the workplace in Cheshire East.

Cheshire East is the third-largest unitary authority in the north west and has a workforce of more than 3,500 people.

Among that number are a significant number of women, many of whom hold key positions across the council.

I am very proud to represent this authority as our acting chief executive but the impact and the success of women at Cheshire East is far more widespread than the role I perform.

Being an organisation leader is hard – and being a female leader can be even more so. But while women are often poorly represented in senior roles nationally, we are bucking the trend here at Cheshire East.

In our working environment, everyone is encouraged to develop and move forward in their careers and women are treated no differently. Cheshire East is an equal opportunities employer and our staff are at the very centre of everything that we do.

Politically, 38% of our elected members are female and the council leader and the acting deputy leader are both women. Half the politicians in our cabinet are women. The incoming mayor and deputy mayor are also women.

From an officer perspective, the statistics in our council make equally good reading. Half our senior leadership team are female and 54% of our senior managers are women as well.

Following on from International Women’s Day, the message from me to all our female staff who are looking to advance their careers in the public sector – not just here but nationwide – is to accept that there will be knock-backs and challenges but to embrace them as being part of the journey to where you want to get to.

Believe in yourself, take the opportunities and seize the day!

Top image: monkeybusinessimages


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