Where are the women?

Women 5050, the campaign advocating for 50% representation of women in councils and in the Scottish Parliament, has analysed the candidate lists of all wards in the 32 councils for the upcoming local elections on May 4th and found a significant under-representation of women on the ballot paper.

Key findings:

– Women make up only 30% of candidates 

– There are 21 wards in Scotland with only men on the ballot paper

– The Scottish Conservatives are fielding no women candidates in Angus, The Western Isles, Stirling and Dundee. They are however fielding 31 male candidates across these areas.

– Representation by parties is as follows – No party achieved 50% candidates:

SNP – 41%

Scottish Labour – 32%

Scottish Conservatives – 17% 

Scottish Liberal Democrats – 33%

Scottish Greens – 45%

Independent candidates – 18%

– The councils with the worst representation of women candidates are; Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (10%) Orkney (20%) and Moray (20%) Councils

– The councils with the best representation of women are; West Lothian (41%) and East Ayrshire (40%)

PLEASE NOTE- our data is taken from the notice of polls published on council websites, this has been checked and re-checked by volunteers who are helping when they can. If you think there is a discrepancy, please email us your data and we will be happy to publish it and update our content.

Talat Yaqoob Chair and Co-Founder of Women 5050 said:

“Currently, only 25% of councillors are women. With only 30% women candidates in this election and a shocking 21 wards with no women on the ballot paper whatsoever, it is clear that we will not reach fair representation for women in 2017. It is time for rhetoric to be turned to action, and we must implement legislation for all parties to follow, to make sure decision makers reflect the society they are meant to represent.”

Emma Ritch, Executive Director of Engender said:

“Having women in council chambers and around decision-making tables changes the conversation. It’s vital that councils making decisions about vital public services look like the people they are elected to represent. Our recent Sex & Power report found that women fill only 27% of the 3029 leadership roles in Scotland. The time for bold action on women’s representation is now.”

Dr. Meryl Kenny, Steering group member of Women 5050 and Gender and Politics Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh said:

“Levels of women’s representation in Scottish local Government have flat-lines for decades. In 2017, we see the same patterns- some parties taking the issue seriously, while others like the Scottish Conservatives continue to lag well behind. It’s time to follow the evidence and take tough action through gender quotas to ensure 50/50 representation in our councils and parliament”