MOREE’S mayor Katrina Humphries rankles at the thought of gender quotas in council, or any workplace.
Cr Humphries has spent a decade as mayor of Moree Plains Shire Council and, as a female councillor, she’s part of the of slim 29.5 per cent minority of elected councillors in NSW who are women.
I would be absolutely mortified to think I got my role because someone thought it would be good for a woman to have the job.Moree mayor Katrina Humphries
With International Women’s Day around the corner, Cr Humphries won’t be joining any “bleeding heart” calls to even the ledger.
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“I don’t believe you should have a quota of people for any job,” she told The Leader.
“I would be absolutely mortified to think I got my role because someone thought it would be good for a woman to have the job.
“It would be insulting.”
The peak body for councils in the state, Local Government NSW (LGNSW), is calling to increase the number of women standing for election to lift the rate of representation, but the mayor said it’d be pointless if you didn’t get the best candidates putting their hands up.
“If more women stand, there’s no point if you get a limited number and they’re no good,” she said.
Cr Humphries said it should always be a case of finding the right people for the right roles.
“The best person should always get the job,” she said.
“I don’t care if they’re a woman, or a man or don’t want to disclose what they are.”
She was inspired to run for council in 2008 because she “wasn’t happy with the direction Moree was going”.
Only 14 per cent of NSW councils have female general managers, but the Moree mayor said her council had a lot senior staff “who do an excellent job” not because they’re women, but “they’re the right people” for the roles.
“In terms of International Women’s Day, I consider it my day every day,” she said.
“Why don’t they take the money spent on it and spend it on schools and hospitals.
“I’m extremely proud to be a female and I love it when my husband holds the car door open for me and when he takes the bins out on Sunday night.
“He loves it when I cook a nice dinner and I think we make a pretty good team.”
Call for parity
More women are needed to ensure local government truly represents the communities it serves. At LGNSW's inaugural #IWD2018 luncheon in Sydney tomorrow, LGNSW President @ClrLindaScott will call for more female councillors and council staff. Media release: https://t.co/lfNf9erdVv— Local Government NSW (@lgnsw) 6 March 2018
The push to get more women on councils is needed to ensure local government truly represents the communities it serves, LGNSW president Linda Scott said.
The organisation will host its inaugural International Women’s Day luncheon on Thursday, where Cr Scott will push for more female staff and councillors.
“Currently, only 14 per cent of NSW’s 128 councils have female general managers, and just 29 per cent are represented by female mayors,” Cr Scott said.
“While the number of female mayors has doubled over the past two decades, there is still much work to be done.”
She said the day would be an opportunity celebrate women in local government and to press for progress.
“However, it is also an opportunity to promote the need for gender parity,” she said.
“We need to maintain and increase the momentum by continuing to press for progress.
“A representative government should mirror its community so that decision-making is a clear reflection of the interests and perspectives of its constituency.”