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Assembly Women in Democracy Caucus – positive steps towards equal representation

11/03/2015

The National Assembly for Wales' Women in Democracy Caucus has published a report with a series of recommendations to address the lack of women in public life in Wales.

The cross-party group of Assembly Members was established by the Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM, as part of her #POWiPL - Women in in Public Life campaign.

Dame Rosemary chairs the Caucus and the other members are Joyce Watson AM (from Sept 2014), Antoinette Sandbach AM, Jocelyn Davies AM, Eluned Parrott AM, and Rebecca Evans AM (Jan – August 2014).

There are ten recommendations which the Caucus believes will tackle some of the barriers that women face in terms of entering public office.

"There are fewer women than men in public life, despite making up more than half of the population," the Presiding Officer said.

"Women's voices are not being heard and our views are being overlooked, so I am working to address the need for more women to apply for and take up public roles and appointments.

"My Women in Public Life campaign aims to ensure that women are fairly represented at all levels of public life in Wales and the cross-party Assembly Women in Democracy Caucus is an important part of that.

"We have outlined a number of actions that could be taken to address this issue, and it is important to point out that they are backed across the political spectrum."

The Caucus has made ten recommendations.  The Caucus would:

  • encourage the Welsh Government not to award major grants or contracts to organisations without women on their board (by 'major grants or contracts' we refer to grants and contracts for over 250K);
  • seek a progress update from Assembly Party Leaders on the steps that they have taken to ensure an increased representation of women Members for the Fifth Assembly;
  • invite the Remuneration Board to look at the specific pastoral requirements of Assembly Members, particularly those with caring responsibilities;
  • encourage their party groups to adopt a more skill-based approach founded on the general principles of fair recruitment in order to encourage a wider range of women to put themselves forward for elections;
  • urge the Assembly to consider gender specific support and one to one coaching for new and returning female members in the Fifth Assembly;
  • work with broadcasters in Wales to ensure that we see more 'expert' women on our television screens and radio programmes;
  • encourage the cross party group on Women in the Economy to include encouraging women to stand for elections as part of its work programme;
  • seek opportunities to proactively inspire public debate and highlight the issue of female representation.

The report of the Assembly Women in Democracy Caucus will be launched in the Senedd's Oriel at 12.00 on 11 March.

The report has been produced to coincide with International Women's Day (8 March).

The National Assembly is also holding other events - including an all-male panel discussion, on 12 March in the Pierhead, about how men can get involved in the fight for gender equality.

Panellists include:

  • Neil Wooding (Chair) – Director of Organisational Capability and Performance at the Office of National Statistics;
  • Carl Sargeant AM – Minister for Natural Resources;
  • Roger Lewis – Group Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union; and
  • Chris Green – Founder and Chief Executive of the White Ribbon Campaign to stop violence against women.

Our events are free and open to the public.

To book a place at any of these events, please email contact@assembly.wales or call 0300 200 6565.  Please remember to state clearly which events you'd like to attend.

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