gender-equalityA new report has highlighted problems with gender equality in public life in Wales.

According to the new Welsh Power Report, there are a number of concerning trends relating to women in politics and public life.

Released to mark International Women’s Day on March 8th, data revealed in the report indicated that the proportion of female Assembly Members and Welsh MPs is in decline.

It was noted that there are five women missing from the National Assembly and 13 from the 40 Welsh members of the House of Commons, while the report also highlighted the fact that Welsh local government lacks close to 300 women.

Stephen Brooks from the Electoral Reform Society stated the report shows how women in Wales are still being “systematically locked out of power”.

“Whether it’s jobs, the NHS or school standards, Wales faces a massive set of challenges. We need all hands on deck and cannot as a country afford to exclude people on the basis of their gender,” he said.

Mr Brooks called for political parties to analyse whether they can do more to encourage females into public positions and said all four party leaders ought to make a public commitment today that they will “redouble their efforts ahead of the next election”.

It was pointed out by the Electoral Reform Society representative that even though it is now almost a century since women won the right to vote, the level of women’s representation in parts of Welsh public life remains “unchanged from the time of Lloyd George”.

He also noted how a woman born in Wales stands more chance of being prime minister of Australia – with the nation’s leader currently being Julia Gillard from Barry – than a Welsh Conservative or Plaid MP.

Employment of women has improved since the rise in the state pension age, research carried out by the Institute of Fiscal Studies recently revealed.