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Brisbane Council Votes Against Equal Representation For Women

A motion to ensure there is an equal number of men and women on council boards has been voted down by Brisbane City Council.

The motion was defeated on Tuesday, in the middle of International Women's Week, with 20 votes against and just seven in favour of the move.

"We will select females when they are the best person for the role," LNP Councillor Krista Adams told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

The motion was tabled during Tuesday evening's meeting by Councillor Kara Cook who spoke of the urgent need for "at least 50 percent of women on all Brisbane City Council boards by 2024”.

Brisbane City Council
Image: Facebook/ Brisbane City Council

During her address to Council, she read out the list of 11 members who form the Urban Futures Board, all of which were men. Cook herself is the only female Labor member on the party's five-person council team.

Other Boards however, do have some female representation. Cook herself was appointed Shadow Chair for Council’s Lifestyle and Community Services Committee in 2018 and she is also a member of the Public and Active Transport Committee.

The LNP responded by saying they have had a female chair of Council since there were voted into control in 2008. The party also said they've recently appointed more women to city boards.

READ MORE: #IWD2019: Why It Will Take 202 Years For Women To Earn What Men Do

One such woman is Councillor Vicki Howard, part of the civic cabinet as Field Services chairman. The independent Design Advisory Panel also consists of five women and eight men.

"We are always looking for the best person for a role on our city council boards," Adams told the ABC.

"There are many, many boards with any opportunities, but remember the majority of these are also volunteer boards so we need to find people that are qualified, interested, also have the time and want to be involved."

Women Board
Image: Getty Images.

The Council did not comment further on the vote when contacted by 10 daily.

According to the Courier Mail, Cook felt it was important to raise the issue of equal female representation in the workplace, especially during International Women's Week.

According to the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Company Directors Board Diversity Statistics released in January 2019, just 29.7 percent of boards at the top 200 companies have women on them.

While this number has grown by eight percent since 2015, it still leaves just over 70 percent of top company boards without women whatsoever.

Just 21.4 percent of new appointments to these boards were women as of January 2019.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au