The Senedd will aim to be the world's fifth 50/50 parliament. Inset: Logo of Chwarae Teg. Sources: Gordon Plant (via Flickr), Chwarae Teg

Fewer women appointed to public bodies in Wales, new data reveals

A Welsh gender equality charity has warned that action must be taken to include more women in public life.

Chwarae Teg’s annual ‘State of the Nation’ report shows that 20% fewer women were appointed to public bodies over the past year. Only 43% of appointees in 2020 were female, compared to 64% in 2019. The report also shows that fewer than 5% of appointed chairs were women, far lower than the 56% recorded last year.

The report also highlights the gender split in Wales across all forms of government. Whilst the Senedd is currently only one female MS away from achieving an equal gender split, fewer than three in every ten local councillors and only a quarter of council leaders across Wales are women.

Wales is also the only nation of the UK never to have had a female Prime Minister or First Minister.

The charity warned all political parties to give “serious consideration” to how they can include more women and BAME candidates in time for Wales’ next local elections in 2022. They also warned that female candidates for the 2021 Senedd election were “under-represented across the board”.

Mia Rees, a Welsh Conservative Women2Win Coordinator for Cardiff and the Vale, says that one of the ways her party helps promote female candidates is through mentoring.

“I’m a great believer in mentoring. It’s something that Women2Win (the organisation inside the Conservative party) are very good at doing. It’s very informal mentoring, you find out about women who are interested in standing in your area and you have a chat with them.

“As they go through their journey when they apply to be a candidate, you support them on their journey and they’ll have questions and things they’re not quite sure of. So they have their own informal mentor that they can ask all these questions to.”