This Community Action Project (CAP), developed during their 2013 GLF Program year, aimed to help increase the representation of women in elected roles in local government. In 2013, women represented only 27 per cent of elected council members.
The group reviewed internationally-published research in this area, examined campaigns from other states, and interviewed experts. Then, supported by the Local Government Association (LGA) with a grant of $15,000 (of which they spent only half!), they ran three World Café forums in north, south and central Adelaide, involving 71 women from 19 local government areas. These forums focused on two questions: “What does effective female community leadership look like to you?”, and “What message would inspire you to become involved in community leadership?”.
As a result of these forums, the group wrote a report and made a number of important recommendations to the LGA about increasing female nominations. Their report was added as a resource to the LGA website and their findings were included in the 2014 Council Community Awareness Strategy and Checklist provided to councils to develop their own strategies for that year’s local government elections.
As a result, in 2014, a record percentage of women stood for and were elected to local government and 29 per cent of councillors are now women, an increase of 2 per cent. This modest but important increase is something that the group can be proud of. They certainly played a role in raising awareness and informing the campaigns.
Team members: Alex Gaut, Dr Margaret Faulkner, Madeleine Davis and Kath Button