A pioneering program that aims to boost the number of female local councillors in NSW kicks off in October.
The six-day program, Empowering Women in NSW Local Government, covers topics such as local government reform, leadership skills, strategic thinking, media management and public speaking. It claims to be the first such program in Australia.
The course is run by a partnership between the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Local Government (UTS:CLG) and the NSW branch of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA NSW). It is aimed at women considering nominating as candidates in the 2016 local government elections, existing councillors and women working within the NSW local government sector.
There is no question that the proportion of women on NSW local councils is unimpressive, at best.
Women make up only 27 per cent of councillors and 36 per cent of election candidates in NSW, and compares poorly with other states in its level of female political representation. In Victoria and Queensland women make up about one third of all councillors and in South Australia the figure is 29 per cent.
As well as covering the qualities, skills and knowledge needed to be a councillor, the program also gives women the lowdown on how to plan campaigns to run for council, establishing a theme, building a team, campaigning tools and techniques ,and what to do on pre-poll and election days. Interpreting results and evaluating the campaign post-election are also covered.
As well as increasing knowledge and confidence levels, the idea is also to establish a strong peer-to-peer network among the women coming up through the program.
ALGWA NSW President Vicki Scott, said statistics showed women remained “significantly under-represented” in Australian local government, both at elected level and senior management level.
“ALGWA NSW wants to work to change this. We encourage any woman considering standing for council elections in 2016 to participate in this unique learning opportunity,” Ms Scott said.
UTS:CLG Program Manager Nicole Campbell said: “Empowering Women in Local Government is a fantastic opportunity for women to learn about local government; develop their leadership skills; understand effective engagement and communication techniques and learn how to campaign effectively.”
The six-day program will be delivered by UTS:CLG’s local government team through a mix of online coursework and face-to-face workshops.
The first course beings on Friday October 23 and will be hosted by Strathfield City Council. The cost of the course is $600 (ex GST) for ALGWA members and $1500 for non-members. Places on the program are limited to 20 people.
To register go to: www.algwa.org.au
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