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Monday, April 19, 2021

'Pattern of not enough women' in Guernsey politics

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More than twice the number of men than women were shortlisted for jobs as non-voting members of committees in the States of Guernsey.

The shortlist was made up of 20 men and eight women, an Access to Public Information Request has revealed.

Overall there were 74 applications from men and 27 from women.

Lobby group Women in Public Life said the data showed a pattern where “not enough women stand” for public office, skewing the balance of politics.

Non-States Members are people appointed to sit on political committees, but they do not have a vote on final decisions.

Eight men and two women were appointed to the role following the application process by six of Guernsey’s political committees.

‘Male orientated’

The Access to Public Information Request was put to the States by Women in Public Life, an organisation aiming to encourage more women to put themselves forward.

Shelaine Green, from the organisation, said the the data shows a pattern in Guernsey politics that “not enough women stand in the first place”, with 27% of applications by women and 20% appointed.

She added 24% of candidates were women at the 2020 general election, which resulted in eight deputies – 21% of the States Assembly.

This fell from the previous States term where 32% of deputies in the States were women.

Ms Green said: “There were women who stood, but not as many as men, therefore you end up with not the same proportion being appointed at the end.

“You can’t elect what you can’t see.”

Emile Litten, from mental health charity Guernsey Mind, was appointed as a Non-States member on the Committee For Health and Social Care.

She said it was “quite difficult” for women to put themselves forward to sit on the committees.

“They’re very male orientated, they’re run in such a way that is suitable for a traditional male voice,” Ms Litten added.

She explained many women found it a challenge to have the “confidence, knowledge and experience” to be convinced they are suited for the position.

Ms Litten said: “So I think the more women that sit there, the more that gate will open for other people.”


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