I was so disappointed to see comments about choosing “the best person for the job” on our story about encouraging more women to consider running for local government.
The story wasn’t about handing a council position to anybody on a platter.
It was about sparking awareness and taking a step towards making the body more representative of its community.
Any person who puts their hand up for council should need to convince voters that they are the best candidate for the role.
The projects discussed in the article weren’t suggesting otherwise.
Rather, they’re about helping more women to raise their hand in the first place.
The Municipal Association of Victoria said research had shown that when women stood for council they were just as likely as men to be elected – however, they often don’t stand for election.
Women only make up about 37 per cent of councillors in Victoria but are more than 50 per cent of the population.
Supporting more women into local government ensures councils reflect the communities they serve.
Yarra Ranges Council is made up of eight men and one woman, Fiona McAllister.
The value of different perspectives was abundantly clear during a recent discussion about a planning application for a childcare centre.
Most argued that the proposed parking was inadequate because parents would spend 15 minutes dropping off their children.
Only Cr McAllister could provide perspective as a parent who uses childcare – and very adamantly pointed out that the drop-off rarely took more than a minute or two.
Different perspectives enrich debate and democracy.
– Casey Neill