Lack of women on Council: Port Stephens Councillor Leah Anderson speaks up

Leah Anderson speaking at the Tilligerry candidate’s forum.


IT has been clear over the history of Port Stephens Council, that there has been a lack of gender representation.

Since 2008, the highest number of women on the council has been two, with both the 2012 election and the 2021 election seeing only one woman elected.

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Newly elected councillor Leah Anderson says she is ready to make a difference and ensure that women are encouraged to represent their community.

“I am very concerned with the balance of gender on this Council, and I can only speculate as to why.

“Do women feel intimidated to be an elected representative on this council, due to the previous year’s performances of other councillors?” Leah told News Of The Area.

Councillor Anderson believes that perhaps women are discouraged to run due to the environment that has been created.

“If you attended or watched on webcast the last few years Council meetings you would understand why very few women would be willing to put themselves forward to run for our local Council.

“In my opinion the environment at Port Stephens Council has not been welcoming for a woman to feel comfortable in standing for election for their community,” Councillor Anderson said.

Port Stephens Council has one of the lowest numbers of elected women to represent the community, with neighbouring MidCoast and Newcastle Councils electing four and nine women respectively.

“I look at the newly elected Newcastle Council and congratulate the nine women on the thirteen-member council who felt confident and comfortable to step up into important leadership roles within their community.

“Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, now in her third term, has proven to the women in her community that they can have a voice on council.

“I will be working hard to make the same change for Port Stephens,” Councillor Anderson said.

Anderson is looking forward to the future and is ready to make a difference.

“I’m ready to work extremely hard to lead the way and be a role model for other women to step up and take important leadership roles in our community.

“I will not be intimidated, nor will I allow it to be acceptable to feel like the minority, even though I am the only woman to be elected to this new council amongst nine men.

“We need to speak to the many amazing women in our community, and support and encourage them to step up, and take on these important leadership roles, to not feel intimidated, and to make a difference.

“I will do whatever I can to facilitate this,” she said.



One thought on “Lack of women on Council: Port Stephens Councillor Leah Anderson speaks up

  1. Like all roles in life, the person needs to be able to demonstrate a skillset and desire.

    If women put themselves up for election and are the best candidate, they will get elected. If they don’t nominate then the ‘gender imbalace’ cannot be blamed on anything other than a lack of desire.

    On the other side, my lady has been approached but declined due to the vicious treatment of any candidate by the media (all forms) and disappointingly, her gender.

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