Wales has no female black or Asian councillors, despite a BAME women population of 30,510 ; with Swansea having a BAME female population of 2,311 and Cardiff with a BAME female population of 12,789 . This is surprising considering that before the Second World War, the largest Black communities were found in Wales’ great port – Cardiff’s Tiger Bay, now re-branded as Cardiff Bay.
This cross-party Taskforce was set up by Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality in May 2008, to tackle the under-representation of ethnic minority women in local government. This event is one of a number of initiatives to address this.
Speakers at the event include Baroness Gale, the Welsh Commissioner at the Women’s National Commission, Yvonne Jardine, former Swansea Councillor and Salma Abbasi, Chair of e-Worldwide group.
Yvonne Jardine has worked extensively with the Minority Ethnic Women’s Network and other voluntary sector organisations. She served on the Swansea City and Borough Council between June 2004 and May 2008.
Former Councillor Yvonne Jardine said: “Women have an innate desire to help others, and listening to people is a real strength that many women are born with. This is integral in identifying and taking up the issues that matter to local people. The best thing about being a councillor has been representing the views of all the people who live in a local ward and addressing problems of the community. These events are just one of a number of ways in which the Taskforce will encourage and support ethnic minority women to become councillors.”
With the aim of motivating women from ethnic minority backgrounds to get involved with their local councils, interactive workshops will be held at the event. Delegates will gain practical and hands-on knowledge about the role of a councillor by participating in these workshops.
Delegates will have the opportunity to ask questions at the closing Q&A session where the panel will include: Baroness Gale, Yvonne Jardine and Salma Abbasi.
Baroness Gale who served as a former General Secretary of the Wales Labour Party said: “I have been actively promoting women in public and political life for many years. I applaud the Taskforce in their endeavours to raise the profile of BAME women in the political sphere.”
Those who are interested in becoming a local councillor or want to have a say in their community can secure a place at this free event at www.livegroup.co.uk/BAME or call 020 8481 3375. Alternatively email: BAME@livegroup.co.uk