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Are local governments excluding women?

We have been working with the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) to assess whether local government is working well for women. Our year-long Commission is jointly chaired by Labour’s Dame Margaret Hodge MP and Conservative councillor Cllr Gillian Keegan, Director of Women2Win. Funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, the Commission will adopt a strategic approach and focus on the newly created structures at a local level and how they are including or excluding women.

Local government spends £94bn each year: it plays a vital role in providing services on which we all depend and tackling the challenges we all confront, and it is changing fast. Budgets have been cut significantly since 2010, the powers councils exercise are changing, and devolution will see an increasing shift of power and decision making to the regional level. Women are more likely to rely on the services that councils provide, and make up 78 percent of the workforce, so they should be properly represented in decision-making positions. But this is not the case.

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