‘Give up your seats for women’, members of the city region authority are urged

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has only men on its board with voting rights and the Women’s Leadership Group wants this addressed. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram


Male Merseyside council leaders are being urged to relinquish their seats on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and nominate female replacements.

At present the authority, head by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, has no women with voting rights.

Those with a vote include Mr Rotheram plus the leaders of the six local authorities, Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton, who are all men, as well as the chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership, also a man.

When the cabinet was unveiled in May there was an outcry at the gender imbalance with a number of people contacting YBNews to voice their dismay.

Fiona Gibbs, a director at Liverpool’s Baltic Creative, university lecturer and author, said on Twitter at the time: “Big slap on the back to you boys but can you explain the distinct lack of women in this crack team?”

In June Mr Rotheram announced he was appointing a number of female advisors, including University of Liverpool Vice-Chancellor, Professor Janet Beer, Mereyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy, and businesswoman Sara Wilde McKeown.

However, none of the advisors have voting rights on the combined authority female voting rights.

Now, an open letter has been sent to the all-male cabinet from the Women’s Leadership Group (WLG), a collective of women which aims to tackle the lack of diversity in power and decision-making structures in the city region.

Appeals made to Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram have received no response, other than claims that he is bound by current constitutional arrangements.

Tabitha Morton of the Women’s Leadership Group


So the group is asking members of the cabinet, Joe Anderson, Phil Davies, Rob Polhill, Ian Maher, Andy Moorhead, Barrie Grunewald and Asif Hamid, to “give up your seat” and nominate a women in their place.

The constitution dictates that the six regional leaders and the chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) must all be given combined authority roles – positions all

The WLG says Mayor Rotheram has an opportunity to modernise the constitution in January 2018, to ensure the LCR is truly reflective of the people it serves.

Tabitha Morton, of the WLG, says: “This is not just a social and political argument, but also an economic one. Women bring talent to the table and represent 51% of our communities.

“Not having women on the LCR board is not just a failure to harness the energy and ideas of innovators across the LCR, but it is a failure to recognise the breadth and depth of work that women input into both our social economy and our thriving businesses that holds the LCR communities together.”

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