FEMALE ARFON councillors have celebrated International Women’s Day by sharing statistics they say show “hard-fought unquestionable progress” for gender equality in Gwynedd.
The figures are based on the 2022 Gwynedd Council Elections held less than year ago.
They show the share of women councillors across the county shot up by 13% during the May elections.
The statistics have been shared by women councillors in the Arfon region, and who are all part of the Plaid Cymru group.
According to Elin Walker-Jones, Plaid Cymru’s chair in Arfon and county councillor for the Bangor, Glyder ward said: “Encouraging statistics have come to light, and what better way to celebrate than on International Women’s Day.
“The figures, based on the 2022 Gwynedd Council Elections held less than year ago show unquestionable progress in gender equality in Gwynedd.
“The share of councillors across Gwynedd who are women shot up by 13% in May’s elections.
“In Arfon, the figures were even more spectacular, with an increase of 17% in the share of women councillors.
“Specific stats for the Plaid Cymru group on Cyngor Gwynedd makes for interesting reading as well, and reflects a hard-fought, coordinated campaign by party members across Gwynedd to attract more women candidates.
“The percentage of the group’s councillors who are women went up by 16% last year. The percentage in Arfon saw a similar increase of 14%.
“Plaid Cymru’s team of candidates across the county saw an increase of 17%, and in Arfon the proportion of candidates who are women grew by a massive 21%.
“Needless to say there is still a long way to go as the Gwynedd figure is only now nearing parity with the national figure of 35% of councillors being women, representing an increase in Gwynedd of 12% since 2017.
“There is a lot more action to be taken to achieve meaningful and long term gender equality on all levels of governance, but these statistics give a reason to be hopeful.”
Elin, who is also Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, hopes her position means she will be a role model for young women in Gwynedd
“Creating positive role models of women in politics is crucial for future generations of aspiring young women, to enshrine gender balance as the norm.” She added.
“In addition, institutions also need to change to create conditions that facilitate, rather than hinder gender balance.”
A former county councillor herself, and the first woman to represent the Arfon constituency, Siân Gwenllian AS, added: “The progress outlined in these statistics isn’t a matter of serendipity. It followed a concerted campaign locally to attract more candidates who are women.
“International Women’s Day must go further than uninspiring gesture politics and meaningless PR campaigns.
“In celebrating genuine change at grassroots level, we hope that this year we can show action and good faith can lead to progress.
“I would like to thank every single woman who put their name forward to be councillors in last year’s elections.
“If the voices of women aren’t prominent on all levels of government, then our priorities won’t be addressed.”