Women councillors network convene to drive change in local councils

Women councillors network convene to drive change in local councils

5th of July, 2024

Next meeting 31 July


The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) held a positive meeting for women councillors on 20 May 2024 to discuss critical issues and share insights on enhancing their roles in local governance.

The meeting covered topics ranging from International Women’s Day celebrations to parental leave and the future of remote meetings. Louise Soothill, community development officer at Keighley Town Council, detailed her council’s International Women’s Day event, which took place on 8 March 2024. Partnering with Keighley Soroptimist Club, the council organised a community event that saw participation from local businesses and community groups and around 300 attendees.

The event, themed “Inclusion,” encouraged women and girls to explore non-traditional career paths. Despite a modest budget, it was a resounding success, highlighting the council’s commitment to community engagement and gender inclusion.

Cllr Kay Wesley, mayor of Congleton Town Council, led a discussion on the critical issue of parental leave. Unlike local authorities, she highlighted the need for standardised policies for local (parish and town) councils. The discussion underscored the challenges women councillors face when balancing caregiving responsibilities with their civic duties.

The debate on remote meetings was initiated by Cllr Sue Baxter, vice-president of NALC, who noted the efficiency and inclusivity of remote meetings experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cllr Baxter raised concerns about the financial and logistical burdens these might place on smaller councils. The discussions highlighted the benefits of remote meetings, such as increased public participation and accessibility for disabled individuals and those with caregiving responsibilities. Most members supported pushing for remote meetings, emphasising the importance of flexibility for local councils.

The network will next meet on 31 July 2024.

Learn more about the network and how to join