Liberal Democrat councils are the worst for getting women into senior town hall jobs, Labour claimed today.
Party researchers surveyed 205 councils, and found that those under Liberal Democrat control had only 36 per cent of their senior roles filled by women. The equivalent figures for Conservative-run councils were 37 per cent and for Labour 47 per cent.
But the figures suggest that it is easier for a woman to rise to the top in local government than in big business or Whitehall. The boards of the FTSE 100 companies are on average 88 per cent male, and women make up only 37 per cent of the top layer of the civil service.
Hilary Benn, Labour’s local government spokesman, said: “It is very encouraging that local government has made so much progress towards ensuring that women are properly represented at a senior level. It is, however, striking that the Liberal Democrats – who have no ethnic minority MPs and the lowest proportion of women MPs among the major parties – have a worse record on equality than even the Tories.”
Yvette Cooper, the shadow Equalities Minister, said: “Women are bearing the brunt of many of the Coalition's policies at a local and national level, and it is important that women are properly represented at all levels of society if we want to improve the way decisions are made. Time and time again the parties to the Coalition is seen to be sitting on their hands when it comes to women's representation. It is time they acted to stop the clock being turning back.”