Peterborough's Conservative Party stands just two female candidates for election
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Peterborough’s Conservative Party is standing the fewest female candidates in May’s local election of any major political party.
The Conservatives, which currently control Peterborough City Council (PCC), are standing just two female candidates and 19 men.
The Labour Party, meanwhile, is standing eight women and 13 men.
The Liberal Democrats have the smallest gap – nine men to eight women – but no major party is standing as many female candidates as they are male candidates.
This includes the Green Party, the only party to currently have a woman leading their group at PCC, which is standing seven women and 12 men.
Overall, just over two thirds of the candidates campaigning to be elected on 4 May are men.
Women were also underrepresented among PCC’s elected councillors at the end of the last administrative year (just prior to the current election period).
Of the most recent cohort of PCC councillors, fewer than a third were women.
The largest party overall was the Conservative Party; but, despite this, they had the fewest women in their group of the major political parties.
Their ratio was three women to 25 men.
Women outnumbered men in the Green Party (3:1), while Labour had an even split (6:6).
The Liberal Democrats had a split of 6:2 while there were four male independent councillors and two female independents.
Peterborough Labour says it “encourages and supports” more women to put themselves forward for local government.
A spokesperson said: "We believe public life at all levels should reflect the communities it serves. We are proud of the progress the Labour Party has made in increasing the representation of women in politics, but it is not job-done yet.
“We are continuing to encourage, support and put forward more women candidates from across the brilliant, diverse communities of the city."
Similarly, a Liberal Democrats spokesperson said that “it is important that elected councillors reflect the community that they serve”.
But they added possible reasons women may be put off.
“We feel that perhaps a lot of women are put off putting themselves forward for a number of reasons including issues with childcare around council meeting times, the marked increase in abuse that politicians generally and women specifically are subjected to both online and in person,” the spokesperson said.
“More should be done to see if changes can be made to remove some of these barriers, this also applies to other forms of diversity that sees our council less representative of the communities that we serve than it should be.”
At the final full council meeting of the administrative year, a motion to “make a zero-tolerance approach to abuse of councillors and officers” won cross-party support.
The Labour Party, which brought the motion, highlighted the abuse female councillors sometimes face, particularly online.
The Conservative Party and the Green Party have been approached for comment.