INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day will be celebrated by all the women who work for Conwy Borough Council, including councillors and employees of all disciplines.

To mark the day, Thursday March 8, a cross section gathered together in advance in the council chamber, including cabinet members, accountants, lawyers. paralegals, an apprentice and a selection of other officers.

Cllr Anne McCaffrey, cabinet member for democracy, law and modernisation said: "These are exciting times in democracy in Conwy, things have changed a lot. We now have greater diversity among our councillors and we have female councillors who chair scrutiny and other committees. Four of our cabinet members are female.

“But, we do need to do more work to show councillors’ roles are gender neutral and open to all. We also need to attract more women into politics to reflect better the gender balance within our local population.

“So, on International Women’s Day, we will announce our intention to deliver a programme of events across 2018 to promote equality and raise the profile of women in democracy. We will be reaching out to schools and colleges, to our town and community councils and to groups across the county.”

Already the makeup of staff in the Council is 74% female, and a number of female employees explained how the authority’s approach has affected the working lives of staff.

Tracey Pardoe, HR business partner (equalities) said: “We have a great track record of developing our staff with more than 50% of our female workforce being in management roles including at senior management level and we have made excellent inroads into lowering our gender pay gap.

“While fantastic progress has already been made we continue to travel in the right direction and have some inspiring female role models within our organisation, we recognise there is still more we can do to inform attitudes and breakdown stereotypes on the journey to ensuring all women have real choices.”

Emma Roberts, modernisation manager added: “Over the last few years, Conwy has changed its way of working via a modernisation programme. The new way of working has led to an improved work and life balance for many staff including me; I have young children and I can manage my working day around them as much as possible. As Conwy now has such an innovative approach to flexible working, the perceived barriers to progression and promotion have been broken down and it has opened up opportunities for all.”

Lorraine Hughes said: As part of the modern apprenticeship programme, I’ve been working for Conwy for six months and it’s been a perfect way to retrain after working in retail for many years. The flexible working has been like a breath of fresh air as a working mum with three girls, if needed I have the flexibility to work and care for them. Working with Conwy and Llandrillo College is giving me the confidence to gain an NVQ alongside my duties with the income section.