Auckland Council’s seven female councillors share their thoughts on the importance of the role of women in democracy and governance:
Councillor Sharon Stewart
As a female leader, I put people at the heart of everything I do and believe all other women around the decision-making table feel the same way. As chair of our Civil Defence Committee, I get to work with amazing women who are breaking away from gender expectations.
An example of this is the council’s Chief Engineer and current Acting Director of Emergency Management, Sarah Sinclair. I really enjoy the opportunity to work with women like her, helping to ensure Auckland is safe and resilient.
Councillor Cathy Casey
Kate Sheppard would be disappointed to learn that Auckland Council is 35th out of 78 in the New Zealand local government gender stakes. We need to do better. Having more women in decision-making is vital if councils are to reflect the population they serve and be truly representative. It’s time to develop our own old girl’s network to ease women’s route into elected office. Men have been doing it for years!
Councillor Josephine Bartley
I feel really empowered seeing more diversity across the decision-making table. It’s so important that the governance of Auckland reflects its population, and I hope to continue to see even more representation in future.
Councillor Christine Fletcher
As a former Minister of Women’s Affairs, I truly understand the value of women in all areas of our society and the importance of women representation in all levels of governance process is no exception. That’s one of the reasons I fought so hard for the MMP voting system, it’s served as an enabler to making our government more fairly represent New Zealand’s diverse communities.
Councillor Desley Simpson
I am a fourth-generation politician but first female politician in my family. I am the Ōrākei ward’s first female councillor and, for two terms, was the first female chair of the Ōrākei Local Board. Now, I am really proud to be part of a strong, talented group of women on the Governing Body – each of us bringing a variety of views, experience and skills to the table.
It is an incredibly rewarding experience to be involved in making the decisions to guide this city. I truly encourage other women to put their names forward for this next election - Auckland will be stronger for it.
Councillor Linda Cooper
We need more women in elected member positions because having only a third of our Auckland governors being women doesn’t reflect the make-up of our community. Besides women often have a different perspective on life and relationships that can be key in making wise decisions which affect people’s lives.
Councillor Penny Hulse
We need more women in elected positions because diversity changes the conversation around the council table and improves the quality of decision making. Being a female councillor helps me work in a more collegial way, as it’s natural for women to collaborate more effectively. Women get stuff done!