Lack of diversity among Wales’ council leaders, report highlights

A new report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has shown that Wales remains a country where ‘major decisions, including those in local government, are being taken by people not reflective of the country’s diversity’.

The Commission's Who Runs Wales? 2017 report examined key areas of Welsh life, including politics, local government and the private sector, to assess if those making the major decisions that affect our lives are representative of the population of Wales.

Who Runs Wales? 2017 findings include: only six per cent of chief executives (or equivalent) at the top 100 businesses in Wales are women; only nine per cent of council leaders in Wales are women; only 12 per cent of chief constables and deputy chief constables in Wales are women; only 14 per cent of chief executives at local authorities are women; and only 26 per cent of councillors in Wales are women.

The report did show some areas of improvement, such as in the health sector, where the percentage of chief executives who are women has jumped from ten per cent to sixty per cent since the last report in 2014.

Who Runs Wales? 2017 also published information on the number of disabled people who hold public appointments and are in employment in Wales. It highlighted: disabled people (declared/known) made up only 3.7 per cent of the public appointments (including reappointments) made in Wales in 2015/16; and in 2013, 42 per cent of disabled people were employed compared to 71 per cent of the wider Welsh population. In 2015, the employment rate for non-disabled people rose by eight per cent, but the picture for disabled people remained the same, meaning that the gap has widened.

June Milligan, commissioner for Wales, Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: "The question of who holds the power to influence life in Wales has never been more relevant. Now more than ever, we all need to be confident that the people who make the major decisions that affect our lives represent all of Wales.

"Overall, we report that while there has been some progress, women are still significantly under-represented at the most senior levels in most sectors in Wales. There is important work to be done to support access for disabled people to employment and public appointments and to tackle discrimination, wherever that exists."