Women urged to run for council

Wyndham mayor Adele Hegedich in front of a display of former mayors dominated by men. (Supplied)

Wyndham’s mayor is backing a statewide push for more women to join local government.

Only four of Wyndham’s 11 councillors are female, yet women make up 50.1 per cent of the municipality’s population.

Victorian Electoral Commission records of the 2012 Wyndham council election also reveal that of the 45 candidates who ran for a council seat, only 17 were female.

Mayor Adele Hegedich said while there were many women in leadership positions throughout the council organisation, she believed there needed to be more women councillors.

“Time is the biggest factor as to why women aren’t running for council,” she said. “There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

“Women are still primarily responsible for picking the kids up from school, taking them to sporting activities – that’s not to say dads don’t do it, too – but there is still that gender stereotype of women doing it.”

She said in the last council term almost half the councillors were female, and she hoped to see the ratio rise again.

Local Government Minister Natalie Hutchins said it was unacceptable that in 2016 women still only make up about a third of all councillors.

“The government is urging women from across Victoria to consider standing as candidates this October, to ensure our councils better reflect our local communities,” she said.

The push for more female councillors started on International Women’s Day on March 8. Wyndham council used the day to host a panel discussion with six local women, who are committed to addressing gender equality.

Guests included sisters Noushin and Mina Barghi – who work with the New Hope Foundation to support refugees and asylum seekers, local businesswoman Tonia Tribe, artist and curator Maree Clarke, Werribee Archery Club president Irene Norman and Baden Powell Secondary College principal Julie Mason.