A hard-hitting new report concludes that local government is ‘not fit for the future’ as a result of a range of outdated practices and attitudes that hold back gender equality. The final report of the Fawcett Society’s Local Government Commission includes the shocking finding that just 4% of local councils in England have a formal maternity, paternity or parental leave policy in place for councillors. Some have informal arrangements, but three quarters who responded to a Freedom of Information request said that they had nothing on offer for women councillors who get pregnant.
This report is the result of a year-long study led by the Fawcett Society in partnership with the Local Government Information Unit, which asked ‘Does Local Government Work for Women?’ and contains recommendations to help solve the issues faced by women in town halls.
The report also reveals that women are outnumbered six to one in Finance or Economic Development roles, which usually lead to the top. This helps to explain why just 17% of council leaders are women – a figure that has hardly shifted for ten years.