Award for new Council program
Published: 03 Sep 2020 2:55pm
A program aimed at getting greater female elected representation on Wagga Wagga City Council has been recognised with a new award at this year’s 13th annual Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government.
Council was this week named winner of the Employment Diversity Award for the pre-election program it developed towards achieving an equitable, diverse and culturally inclusive council.
Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga Cr Greg Conkey OAM congratulated Council staff on the initiative and said it would go a long way towards encouraging increased female representation on Council.
“Wagga votes – diversity counts: There’s no doubt women have been under-represented in Local Government for quite some time,” Cr Conkey said.
“We need more women in Local Government and this initiative encourages women to put their hands up to nominate … hopefully we see the results of this program in action when elections are held in 2021.”
The program, which was developed before the postponement of the 2020 elections due to COVID-19, focuses on providing support and information for women considering standing for election in September next year, incorporating initiatives to increase the participation of women in community leadership.
Council’s Manager Governance and Risk Ingrid Hensley said a strong communications strategy, incorporating a social media campaign, aims to engage with the community and break down potential barriers which may have prevented women from standing for election.
Social media posts will include profiles on previous female candidates and candidate information sessions will include a mix of workshops incorporating practical components such as running a campaign. The “Women in Council” workshop will also be livestreamed, to support events and training that are welcoming and accessible to female participants.
“Part of this program supports candidates to have a voice in debate and decision-making,” Ms Hensley said.
“Women, and also people from diverse backgrounds, have been under-represented on local councils across the State.
“Wagga Wagga City Council is not only rolling out this program within its own LGA by actively engaging with the community in a variety of formats, in a way that has not been done in previous years within the LGA.
“In a regional context, Council is also taking a lead role in promoting female participation at the elected representative level by inviting surrounding regional councils to participate in the program and highlighting the commitment of Wagga Wagga City Council to increasing community, including female, participation in public life.”
The Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government celebrate the contribution of women to local councils and their communities across NSW. In addition to recognising the significant contribution of award winners, the awards aim to encourage more women to enter the local government sector in NSW.
AWARD WINNERS: Checking in to the online awards ceremony this week were Council’s Governance and Risk team (from left) Nicole Johnson, Ingrid Hensley, Cathy Wade and Neil McDermott.