Situation vacant: Female city councillor

Published first in Hamilton News 30 November 2018

Situation Vacant: Hamilton City Councillor.  Fixed term role starts October 2019.  Remuneration starts at $71,638.  Job description:  To represent and lead the community, set policies, make regulatory decisions and review council performance.  Preference: Female.

Women hold a mere 25% of the seats in our current city council.  Did you notice?  Probably not.  We’ve become used to our local government lacking diversity in gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background.  But, imagine how different the dynamics and decision-making process of a council that truly represented our city would be.  I’m not asking for quotas to achieve diversity, we don’t need them – but we do need to support more women to put their name forward for next year’s local elections.  Will you join me?

Are we lacking strong female community leaders?  Are we short on ambitious, strategic professional women?  Would Mums with young families prefer to stay in the home?  Heck no, definitely not and no thanks.

The under-representation of women in our council was the topic of a kōrero I initiated last week.  I was interested in barriers to women standing and what other women could offer them to help.  The experiences of women are different, but in general we are reluctant to stand for family reasons, financial reasons and because, rather sadly we don’t back ourselves enough.  Women ponder over a longer set of criteria than males before considering themselves ‘qualified’ enough to stand.  Basically, women don’t rate themselves as highly as a similarly or even lesser ‘qualified’ male would. Go figure.

The shining beacon of hope from that kōrero was that a group of strong, capable and passionate women have offered experience, skill, creativity and knowledge to support other women to stand next year.  This is exciting, encouraging and could be transformational for how public service looks going forward.

So today, I’m asking the women of Kirikiriroa Hamilton to consider themselves worthy of representing our city and to know that there is support for them to do this.  If it’s not your cup of tea, make sure you shoulder tap an inspirational wāhine to put themselves forward and then join us in supporting them to succeed.

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