MORE needs to be done to attract a more diverse range of councillors in Anglesey, says the council leader, who’s one of only three women on the authority.

At last week’s annual meeting, Cllr Margaret Murley Roberts was chosen to be

the civic head of the authority, joining Cllr Llinos Medi, who’s been the

council leader since 2017.

As a result, Anglesey has women in both main councillor roles for the first time in its history and, with Powys, is currently the only authority in Wales to do so.

Despite this, only three of the 30 elected members are female – placing Anglesey bottom of the Welsh table in this regard.

On the opposite end of the scale, 36.4% of councillors in Torfaen are women, according to gender equality charity Chwarae Teg and pro-democracy organisation ERS Cymru.

Across Wales, of the 1,254 newly elected councillors at the last local elections in 2017, just 359 or 26% were women.

This is a statistic Anglesey’s leader wants to see improve both on Anglesey and across Wales over the coming years.

“How diverse our elected representatives are is an issue that goes to the very

heart of our democracy,” said Cllr Medi, a 37-year-old single mother who was elected for the first time in 2013.

“As a group of councillors, we should reflect the make-up of the communities we serve.

“However, only 10% of county councillors on Anglesey are female.

“If people don’t see a place for themselves in modern politics, we can’t blame them for feeling disengaged and frustrated with the way it is representing them.

“We still have a long way to go, but changes like this are important steps in the right direction.”

Anglesey’s other female councillor, Cllr Nicola Roberts, is chair of the planning committee, with all three of the council’s female members being in the Plaid Cymru group.

Cllr Margaret Murley Roberts, the incoming chair of the authority, feels that there are still obstacles facing women hoping to serve their communities.

“Having the two of us in the two top jobs is a unique situation,” said Cllr Roberts, admitting that it is “sometimes difficult for women to juggle everything”.

“It is still possible, although politics needs to be transformed to attract more women by removing some of the current barriers and offering better facilities,” she said.

Natasha Davies, policy and research lead at Chwarae Teg, said: “Women remain notably under-represented among local councillors in Wales.

“We know that inaccessible meeting times is one of a number of issues which can act as a barrier to those with caring or work responsibilities standing to be a councillor.

“If we want to open up our local councils to new and diverse voices, we have to challenge traditional approaches to organising council business and duties, and listen to those who currently face additional barriers to taking on the role of councillor.

“While the majority of current councillors may not see the need for change now, these decisions need to look at long-term goals and ensure that steps are taken to deliver more representative local government.”