Labour has begun a “delicate balancing act” to get more women onto South Ribble Council.
The party has been creating all-women shortlists as it sets about putting together a team strong enough to seize power from the Tories at next May’s election.
Currently only three of the council’s 18 Labour members are female - one of the worst ratios in the county - leading to criticism from other parties that it is far too male-dominated.
“We are trying to be more representative,” explained Labour leader Coun Paul Foster. “We have been encouraging more female candidates and we are being very successful. We are putting everything into winning next year’s election, given the turmoil on the council recently.”
The South Ribble group is following Labour’s national policy on recruiting more women after generations of inequality in politics.
Deputy leader Coun Mick Titherington said: “The idea is to get a proper balance. We want to be fully representative of the whole community. We have some really top notch females and we’re looking for more.”
Coun Elizabeth Mawson, one of the three Labour women on the council, said: “As a woman I am all in favour of women-only shortlists. But it has to be appropriate for the area and depends on the candidates available. But it does depend on women wanting to be involved.”
The gender gap in Labour
South Ribble: Men 15, women 3.
Preston: Men 25, women 10.
LCC: Men 15, women 15.
Chorley: Men 20, women 10.
Lancaster: Men 19, women 12.
West Lancs: Men 17, women 16.