AHEAD of attending a three-day conference for women in local government, Orange City Council's lone female representative Joanne McRae has declared she would "love to see more women elected" at the next local poll in September 2020.
The former deputy mayor was looking forward to the opportunity to meet with fellow female representatives at this week's Australian Local Government Women's Association Conference, to be held at Blacktown from Wednesday to Friday.
Women make up less than 29 per cent of elected members in NSW, and the sole female representative in OCC's chamber admitted the 11-1 ratio can lead to loneliness and something of a lopsided workload when it comes to advocacy of women's issues and causes.
I am particularly looking forward to a workshop on 'Dealing with Difficult People'.Orange City councilor Joanne McRae
"I admit, at times, it can be a bit lonely as the only woman councillor on Orange City Council," Cr McRae said.
"It can be very busy too, particularly around International Women's Day, or in supporting the many female-oriented groups and service clubs in Orange, including Country Women's Association, Guides, Inner Wheel, Zonta, Ionians and women's fellowships in our local churches."
Given that imbalance, she hoped the conference would be an avenue for networking and information she could utilise in her role on the council, as well as providing something of a springboard for more female representation across the political spectrum.
"At both state and federal levels, we have seen calls for gender balance in politics," Cr McRae said.
"I expect to meet women who are independents like myself, as well as women from all political parties.
"I expect the conference to provide me with updated information on key issues for women in local government. It is also a good professional development opportunity, and I am particularly looking forward to a workshop on 'Dealing with Difficult People'."
The theme of the biennial conference is 'Celebrating 100 Years of Women', and it will include those who provide professional services to councils.
The conference program features Jessica Rowe AM as Master of Ceremonies; Director of Australia's Workplace Gender Equality Agency Libby Lyons; Victoria Weekes, chair for the Australian Gender Equality Council; Australia's Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, and Deborah Thomas, well known for work in magazines (Australia Women's Weekly) and media, as well as CEO of Dreamworld.
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