Local Government: Women in Leadership Roles - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 8th March 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Hollis of Heigham Baroness Hollis of Heigham Labour 3:15 pm, 8th March 2017

My Lords, I am sure the whole House wants to see the proper and appropriate representation of women in local government, in central government and in the professions. But would the Minister accept that with the increasing drive to larger and larger local government units, pushed by the Treasury, the proportion of women drops off? Women are more highly represented in the smaller authorities than in the larger ones, let alone LEPs and combined authorities. That is because of the cost, particularly in rural areas, of transport, childcare and so on, which falls in practice disproportionately on women and makes them unable to stand. The Minister has talked about indirect discrimination, but could he also look at institutional discrimination, in which the structures bear down more heavily and inappropriately on women?