WEN Wales launch outcomes of 2018 mentoring scheme

3rd Apr 2019

Today we launch the outcomes of last year’s mentoring scheme designed to get more women into public and political life.

Only 19 Welsh MPs, since 1918, have been women. Only 18% of Council Leaders in Wales are women. Despite the National Assembly for Wales being the first Parliament worldwide to achieve gender parity in 2006, numbers of women AMs has since fallen. We have a very long way to go to ensure women are visible and equal in society in Wales.

WEN Wales are working to re-dress this imbalance, and today will be welcoming its new cohort of mentees at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre in Cardiff.

Key stats from the 2018 mentoring scheme:

> 46% of participants stated that they would be willing to stand as a political candidate

> 23% of participants have secured trustee positions

> 86% feel more able to influence decisions.

Most importantly the women on the programme report that they feel much more confident as a result – for example at the start of the programme only 5% of participants agreed that they ‘would feel confident to be a lead speaker in a debate’ whilst at the end, this figure had increased by 59% to 64%.

Those who understand ‘what it takes to be an effective elected representative’ has leapt from 15% to 82%, an increase of 67%.

Catherine Fookes, Director of WEN Wales said

‘We are so pleased with the achievements of our first cohort of mentees – their confidence, their understanding of politics and their knowledge of how to get elected have all improved dramatically and almost half the programme said they would be willing to stand as political candidates which is an incredible result. So we are delighted to be launching our second nine month mentoring scheme in 2019. This will support and enable even more women from across Wales to become more involved in public and political life. This scheme is an exciting opportunity and step towards 50:50 representation for women.’

This Opening Event is an exciting opportunity to learn from the experience and skills of some of Wales’ most inspirational women, and an important step to re-dress the imbalance of female representation across our political arena, our public life in the board room and in positions of authority.

There is a cohort of 30 aspiring women taking part, and a number of highly influential women who will act as mentors and be involved in the scheme, including Members of Parliament, Assembly Members, Councillors and Council Leaders, through to Chief Executives, Business Owners and Board Members.

Speakers today will include;

> Jane Hutt AM Deputy Minister & Chief Whip
> Eluned Morgan AM
> Suzy Davies AM
> Leanne Wood AM
> Uzo Iwobi – CEO Race Council Cymru
> Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner
> Professor Meena Upadhyaya Medical Geneticist.