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24hr Domestic Abuse Helplines: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin: 0800 783 1359
Worcestershire: 0800 980 3331
Last month, one of our Trustees, Vivian Barraclough attended a Your Council Your Voice meeting, organised by Herefordshire’s Women’s Equality Group, an informal group of local women who wish to promote gender equality.  The event saw a sub group, entitled Women and Local Democracy, discussing valuable messages about women in politics.

The evening included inspiring talks from women who had taken the plunge to become parish councilors, including 19 year old Gemma Curtis, a female parish councillor for Walford; in a recent election earlier this year, Gemma received the highest number of votes amongst the six councilors up for election.

Interestingly, during the evening, an announcement was made regarding the gender ratio of the 137 Herefordshire Parish Councils, a worrying imbalance between male and female, currently standing at 68 per cent male and 32 per cent female.

The Group – which is now 4 years old – has 150 members.

Vivian Barraclough, our Trustee, said: “As a Trustee of West Mercia Women’s Aid I think it is crucial that we attend events and initiatives that aim to tackle issues surrounding marginalised women in any arena.  I was so impressed with all the amazing and inspiring women we heard from who have stepped forward to be councillors.  There are many challenges for women as council members but we need to remember that they bring a different approach and outlook to what is a predominantly male environment.”

The meeting also offered advice on how to find out which councils had councillor vacancies; there were also a number of women present who were considering standing for office, with HWEG offering them practical support to do so.

Vivian concluded: “Many of the women at the meeting had only stood for election after it was suggested to them that they should; in some ways this is a negative as they would not have considered it a path for them without intervention.  Let’s encourage women to have a voice.”

For further information please contact the Hereford Women’s Equality Group via email for further information about attending one of our regular meetings, to find out more about what we do or how to go about standing for election in your local parish or town council. womensequalitygroup@gmail.com