Women in local government

We encourage greater participation of women in local government as councillors and senior managers, in recognition of ongoing under-representation of women in these roles.

Following the council elections in October 2020, Victoria leads the country in terms of the proportion of female councillors, representing a total of 43.8 per cent of councillors. This is a marked increase from our previous high of 38 per cent. Of the 76 councils that went to election, 47 now have a majority or women councillors or gender parity. This is a significant step towards the goal of 50 per cent representation by 2025 set out in the Victorian Government’s Safe and Strong: A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy.

We also welcome the election of six councillors who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and at least 28 openly LGBTIQ+ candidates elected to 20 councils across the state.

We continue to support increasing the number of women participating in local government by:

  • endorsing the Victorian local government Women’s charter principles which are gender equity, diversity and active citizenship
  • promoting the activities of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association
  • promoting gender equity within local government to assist in the prevention of violence against women
  • ensuring that our events and training encourage people to stand for council election are welcoming and accessible to female participants
  • encouraging councils to consider initiatives which will increase the participation of women at political and community levels.

Celebrating 100 Years of Women in Local Government

The right to vote; the right to stand: the involvement of women in local government in Victoria is a booklet which details the legislative history of the right of women to be candidates for councils: a right denied from 1863 and allowed only from 1914. It was researched and compiled by Cr Helen Harris OAM and is published by the Australian Local Government Women’s Association (Victoria).

In 2020, the MAV produced a video to acknowledge and celebrate this important milestone:


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Rosemary Hancock
(03) 9677 5520