NSW currently has the lowest percentage of women representing the community at local government level, with an average of 31 per cent female representation after a further decline at the last election.
The situation is even worse in Kiama, despite its history of strong female representation, including as mayors.
For the last two terms, Councillor Kathy Rice is the only woman who made it to Council, out of nine positions.
With council elections due this September, Kiama Council and its neighbouring councils are holding a special workshop to encourage more women to stand at local government elections.
“In 2012 I was surprised to be the only woman elected because this was so unusual for Kiama,” says Cllr Rice.
“When it occurred again in 2016, I realised that more women might nominate if the Councillor role was explained and they could learn of the support available to them, both pre- and post-election.
“This forum will begin that process.”
After election, Council will provide all new councillors with training to help them learn the ropes.
“Women are totally capable of becoming effective councillors,” says Cllr Rice.
“A better gender balance on Council would give it a broader perspective and reflect our community more closely.
“Being a councillor is both a great learning experience and an opportunity to influence Kiama’s future direction. I’m glad I was persuaded to give it a go.
Mayor Mark Honey agrees gender diversity would be a good thing.
“I would like to see an increase in the number of women on council so that we are representative of our community.
“Being a councillor comes with enormous responsibility and I believe many women in our community have much to offer in directing council into the future.”
Council elections are being held across NSW on Saturday 12 September.
Details: Saturday 7 March, The Pavilion Kiama, 10-3pm. Reserve your seat by
26 February. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org