Picture of Edge Hill Politics Lead Paula Keaveney.
Edge Hill Politics Lead Paula Keaveney

A new report aimed at getting more women into politics has been unveiled today by an Edge Hill University politics expert.

Paula Keaveney’s pioneering research lays bare the genuine experiences of women involved in the political scene on Merseyside and beyond and shows just how tough politics can be for women.

Breaking the Glass Ceiling – Can Devolution Deliver? calls for the Liverpool City Region, political parties and individual councils to make simple changes to encourage more women to get involved in politics.

Recommendations include better advertising of opportunities to take part in public life and introducing an annual review to look at gender balance in local politics.

Paula Keaveney, Programme Leader for Politics, said:

“Women who were interviewed highlighted issues with outdated views and poor behaviour from both the public and other politicians, which they felt deterred them from political life or caused them to end promising careers early. Some of the findings about the culture in local politics were quite shocking.  But the determination of politicians and political parties to address challenges to address the gender balance was also impressive.

“The election of a mayor for the Liverpool City Region area and the creation of more of these Combined Authorities across the country means there are new structures and new opportunities to focus on a better gender balance in politics and I hope this report makes a difference and we see more women in politics going forward.”

In 2017 the Liverpool City Region’s Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram established a Fairness and Social Justice Advisory Board (FASJAB) and an ambitious programme of work to improve gender balance and representation in local politics.

Picture of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram at an Edge Hill event in 2019.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram visiting Edge Hill in 2019

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, said:

“I want to build the most inclusive and socially just economy in the country, harnessing gender and diversity as a key economic driver, and we need senior women involved in driving forward that agenda. I hope this report is a stimulus to that. 

“In the Liverpool City Region we are already working on introducing the Fair Employment Charter which will challenge employers to create inclusive workplaces that value diversity and give workers justice at work along with a voice at the heart of their organisations.

“The FASJAB annual review of gender balance in local politics, will look closely at the progress made and I’ll be auditing that progress.”

The University has long been a pioneering institution for women. It was set up in 1885 as the first non-denominational teacher training college for women and its history is tied up with the struggle for women’s rights and progress.

This and the recent 100th anniversary of some women getting the vote and being allowed to stand for Parliament saw a surge in interest in the roles women play in Westminster politics and public life today.

Read the full report here – Breaking the Glass Ceiling – Can Devolution Deliver?

Edge Hill University runs a number of courses in politics including BA (Hons) History & Politics, BA (Hons) Politics & Criminology, LLB (Hons) Law with Politics and BA (Hons) Politics and Sociology. Visit the website for more information.