Community

Women in local government

A charcoal drawing of a person.

In a year of council elections, 2020 is neatly bookended by stories of the first and the newest female councillors. A century ago Mary Rogers, a magistrate and union organiser, became the first woman elected to a local council in Victoria.

In 2020, a record number of women took their seats in council chambers all over the state. They walk in the pioneering footsteps of Mary Rogers who was elected to the then Richmond City Council, now the City of Yarra.

Born in 1872 to Irish-born parents, she worked within local government and the union movement to improve community welfare and to introduce equal pay for women.

In Victoria, as elsewhere, women have been under-represented in leadership roles in all tiers of government and business. The October election showed change is well on the way with 272 women elected to councils across Victoria.

According to the Municipal Association of Victoria, our state now leads the nation in its proportion of female councillors. Women represent 44 per cent of councillors in the state. Thirty four have the role of mayor, and 30 out of 69 deputy mayors – or 43 per cent – are women.

Here at the City of Melbourne Sally Capp was the first directly elected female lord mayor in our history when she was sworn in after a 2018 poll. She was re-elected in October and we welcomed three new female councillors; Olivia Ball, Elizabeth Mary Doidge and Roshena Campbell.

To find out more, visit Lord Mayor and councillors.

Share this story

You may also like
Social investment grants create lasting change

Social investment grants create lasting change

Create lasting social change and help build equitable neighbourhoods with funding from our Social Investment Partnerships Program. Grant applications are open until 6 February. We award social investment grants to non-profits, social enterprises and B Corporations...

Supporting families of trans and gender diverse people

Supporting families of trans and gender diverse people

Melbourne Award winning peer support group, Transfamily, is leading conversations that help the family and friends of trans or gender diverse people by providing a safe, welcoming space for them as their loved one transitions. Supporting loved ones who are trans or...

12 ways to expand your mind in Melbourne

12 ways to expand your mind in Melbourne

Become a pro at basket-weaving, car maintenance and business skills in your neighbourhood, in a city where learning opportunities abound. Here are 12 ways to learn in the City of Melbourne. 1. For all Melburnians Deepen your understanding of Aboriginal culture and...

Eight ways to feel welcome in Melbourne

Eight ways to feel welcome in Melbourne

Discover a new sense of belonging in Melbourne this year – in a city where everyone is welcome and anything is possible. The City of Melbourne is home to people from 160 cultural backgrounds, who speak 150 languages and practise 80 faiths. The city has a magnetism...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the City of Melbourne by subscribing to the Melbourne newsletter.

You have successfully subscribed!