The Australian local government sector has designated 2010 as the Year of Women in Local Government to celebrate and promote the advancement of women into senior management positions. The announcement follows a national forum of local, state and commonwealth governments, local government associations and peak professional bodies that was held recently in Canberra.
Convened by Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) the forum was officially opened by the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Status of Women.
LGMA National President and Chief Executive Officer of the City of Unley (SA), Ray Pincombe said the Year of Women in Local Government is a powerful and proven method of raising awareness and educating the local government sector on the value and capacity of women as senior managers.
“The topic of women in local government has been around for a long time,” Mr Pincombe said. “All levels of government are acutely aware of the barriers facing women in management, yet nationally only a handful of councils are addressing the issue.”
“Currently women in senior management roles represent only 20% of local government employees, and only 5% of chief executives or general managers are women. Unless we embrace gender diversity and adopt more transparent and flexible work practices in attracting and retaining our female employees, then the local government sector will not have the depth of talent to survive.”
The Year of Women in Local Government will comprise activities and initiatives that address five key themes:
- Removing structural barriers to women’s advancement;
- Improving the image of local government;
- Preparing women to lead; affirming women’s rights to be ‘at the table’; and
- Implementing evaluation methods that measure meaningful progress.
Activities that will make up the year-long celebration include: reverse mentoring, professional development programs, women’s and men’s only forums, showcasing best practice and other activities that acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of women in the local government sector.
A working party of representatives from local, state and commonwealth governments, local government associations and peak professional bodies has been formed to define the way forward.
For more information visit the Local Government Managers Australia website: www.lgma.org.au