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More female candidates ‘a step in the right direction’

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THE NUMBER of female candidates in a Guernsey election is at its highest ever, and a group which campaigns to increase female participation in public life has said that more needs to be done.

Women in Public Life chairperson Shelaine Green. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28666829)

There are 28 women in the race to be deputy, or 24% of the total number of candidates.

In the 2016 election there were only 19 women candidates, and in 2012 there were 12.

Women in Public Life was set up earlier this year to try to close the gender gap in roles such as deputy, douzenier and jurat, so that more women are involved in the running of the island.

The group's chair, Shelaine Green, welcomed the small surge of interest from female candidates as a step in the right direction.

‘It’s really pleasing to see the number increase to 28 in 2020, particularly as we are now operating under a completely new electoral system,’ she said.

‘Of course, with 119 candidates in total, that means only 24% are women and 76% are men, so the candidate pool is still far from balanced and Guernsey is losing out on talent and representation as a result.

‘But we are realists and we know removing the barriers that hold women back from standing for deputy will take time and continued effort.’

Ms Green has been crunching the numbers revealed from the nominations list and said there were some further positive signs.

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‘Looking at the detail, it’s striking that 10 of the 12 current female deputies are re-standing, plus a further four from previous States terms.

‘It seems female States members are keen to carry on putting in the hard work on behalf of our island – that’s reassuring.

‘However, we are losing two of the Assembly’s best.

‘Deputy Michelle Le Clerc and Deputy Emilie McSwiggan were both dedicated and determined States members who will be deeply missed.’

This year’s female candidates can take comfort that in the last election being a woman was not seen as a penalty from the voting booth.

Of the 19 women candidates last time, 12 got in, which was a better success rate than their male counterparts and doubled the number of female deputies.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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