London Borough of Merton leading the way on representation of women in local government

Leading women councillors at the London Borough of Merton are highlighting their success in equality to mark the 100th anniversary of women having the right to be elected to councils.

Thursday 1st November was a special day in history for all women in local government, as it was on that day in 1907 when women gained the right to legal representation on their local council.

Merton Council is more equal than the average council in the UK with over half their Cabinet members being female (56%). This is in stark contrast to the rest of the UK. The Women’s Local Government Society’s research suggests the number of women councillors in the UK remains around 27% and 70 councils have 20% or fewer women. By contrast, 38% of Merton’s Councillors are female.

Councillor Samantha George, Deputy Leader, says:

‘I am pleased Merton is able to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women in local government with such pride, something around which all groups on the Council are able to unite. In order best to meet the needs of Merton’s residents, it is good that the Council as a whole is broadly representative of the local communities it serves. We have made great strides here in increasing the representation of women in local government over recent years, and the borough is now far above the national average in terms of the number of women in our Cabinet for example. However, on the occasion of this important anniversary, I appeal to more women across the borough to put themselves forward to serve their community in local politics.”

Councillor Geraldine Stanford, Secretary, Merton Labour Group agrees:

” Merton Labour Group pays tribute to the contribution women have made to local government over the years. By celebrating and publicising the important work they have done, we hope to encourage more women, from all walks of life and from all cultures, to stand for election in Merton, so that we can continue to address the gender imbalance, and have a range of councillors that truly reflects our diverse community.’

Councillor Krysia Williams, Independent Councillor, Merton Park ward added:

” Merton Park Independents are proud to congratulate and promote women’s representation in local government. I hope by celebrating such landmarks more women will be inspired to get involved.’