By Jed Lanyon
Potential female candidates for the 2020 Yarra Ranges Council election and those who wish to support them are invited to participate in The Journey Begins workshops starting in April.
Advocacy group Voices of Women is working with the council, Cire Services Incorporated and the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) to encourage gender equity and balance among the Yarra Ranges Council councillors.
VoW president and small business owner Sue West said the group was delighted to be running the project for a second year.
“We are really looking forward to meeting the women who attend the launch on Thursday 21 March, who are interested in becoming a candidate or supporting candidates,” Ms West said.
“The eight sessions following the launch will feature a range of guest speakers providing insight into how local government works, the role of a councillor and how to develop key skills needed to perform the role of a councillor, as well as planning ahead for your campaign.”
Ms West said any women who were interested in local government were welcome to attend the launch and book into the sessions, even if they did not participate last year.
The 2018 workshops attracted about 50 participants and 80 per cent said they learnt something new about local government.
About half said they learnt something new about why it’s important to have women represented on local councils.
VLGA Chief Executive Officer Kathryn Arndt said women across the state had a significant contribution to make to public life.
“Their connections to their community, their skills and unique perspectives mean they are rich with potential to be successful and savvy councillors,” Ms Arndt said.
Along with VoW, the VLGA is here to connect women with the knowledge, skills and contacts to succeed as candidates for the October 2020 local government elections.
“Women make up more than 50 per cent of Victoria’s population; they should make up more than just 38 per cent of local government councillors in Victoria.
“It is critical that we encourage women from a diversity of backgrounds, experiences and abilities to run for local government.”
Mayor Tony Stevenson said VoW was doing a great job of engaging and supporting many women to take a more informed and active role in local democracy.
“I’ve supported VoW from the beginning,” Cr Stevenson said.
“Greater female participation will ensure our communities and local government will be more rounded, relevant and representative.”
For more information and to book into the program, visit: yrc.vic.gov.au/vow2019