Strong growth in female leadership

Article image - Strong growth in female leadership ALGA SA and ALGWA SA ran comprehensive campaigns encouraging young people, women and culturally diverse candidates to stand for local government.

South Australian councils have the highest ratio of female representation in the State’s history. 

The 2018 Local Government elections saw the percentage of successful female candidates rise to 35 percent, up from 29 percent in 2014.

Of the 245 women elected to council, 26 have been appointed as mayors – a significant increase on the nine female mayors elected in 2014.

Local Government Association of South Australia (LGA) President, Sam Telfer, said this number could further increase with 15 councils still to appoint a mayor or chairperson from within their ranks.

“We had 454 women nominate for council this year, which is a 20 percent increase on 2014 and the highest on record.

“The LGA and councils ran a campaign to increase the diversity of candidates in the lead up to these elections, and this message appears to have resonated with both candidates and voters.

“This diversity of representatives will help deliver greater depth to decision making, with a variety of knowledge, experience, and perspectives.

“We still have a way to go, but it’s encouraging to see more people willing to take on leadership positions, particularly women who will make up around a third of our mayors,” said Mayor Telfer.

The South Australian branch of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA SA) also worked hard to encourage greater numbers of female candidates.

Led by President Betty Gill, ALGWA SA has long campaigned for better gender equality in local government.

For the first time, the number of culturally diverse council members has been recorded, with 17 culturally diverse people elected to council – a number the LGA hopes to see grow.

Community engagement with the 2018 council elections was also stronger, with an increase in voter participation compared to 2014.

Mayor Telfer, said, “Around 395,000 South Australians voted this year, which is 38,000 more than in 2014.

A total of 1374 nominations were received – 40 more than in 2014 and the highest number of nominations received since 1995, when SA councils were reduced from 115 to 68.