Drive to attract more Blackpool women to take up politics

Blackpool Town Hall
Blackpool Town Hall
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A family friendly policy looks set to be introduced at Blackpool Council as part of a drive to encourage more women to take up local politics.

Councillors unanimously agreed to pursue the adoption of a parental leave of absence policy which would give people with young children time off to care for their dependents.

It is hoped the move will attract more women in particular to stand as councillors, although parental leave is also open to men. It would also cover adoption leave.

Council deputy leader Coun Gillian Campbell said: "I think it's really important we get as broad a range of experienced people we can to be councillors.

"But sometimes if someone is a bit younger, they have a young family or are thinking about having a family, they think they could be a councillor but they can't take time off."

Analysis of 2018 local election results by the Fawcett Society found only 34 per cent of councillors in England are women.

Among Labour councillors nationally, 45 per cent are women, while the figure for the Conservatives is 29 per cent.

Coun Maxine Callow said she was disappointed with the level of female councillors in the Tory party.

She said: "Our local party does not encourage women. They don't like strong women, they think we should stay at home.

"I think the Conservative party should look at this and it should be sent to the chairmen of Conservative parties around the country.

"We're totally out of step and I think it's time we changed."