First we saw how the policies in our city are “Cutting Women Out in Bristol”
- making it more important than ever to COUNT WOMEN IN
Some BIG questions:

How can we COUNT WOMEN IN more? –
  • More women in at the top in Bristol’s public life & politics
  • More woman-friendly policies
  • More money earmarked for issues that affect women adversely
Why it’s important to COUNT WOMEN IN
It is less than a century since women in the UK were given any right to vote, or to stand for political office, to take up civil professions or to take up public office.  While the laws that prevented women from being visible and active in public life have been dismantled, the legacy of a byegone age still influences today’s models of “leadership”, policy-making and the setting of priority policy areas.  These hierarchical models are known to lead to poor performance when it comes to capturing or even recognising the knowledge and experience of people who are traditionally excluded from the corridors of power.  Our vision for a feminist politics is one that recognises women as over 50% of the population, that recognises the strengths and benefits of collaborative decision-making and that conceptualises leadership as power to enable rather than the exercise of power over others.

In 2015 we are working to ensure that candidates in the General Election are asked about their commitment to issues of concern to women in the city. 

"The Right Man for Bristol?"
In October 2012 we published a report into gender and representation:
14 of the 15 candidates for the post of Bristol Mayor were men, although over 50% of Bristol’s population are women.  We asked: is there something about the role of Mayor that makes people think the job should be done by a man?  How well did the candidates do when it came to understanding and talking about issues that matter to women?

As a part of our Counting Women In  Campaign, we went beyond the mayoral race and the election for Police and Crime Commissioner to research the corridors of power in Bristol – looking at politics, business and the public sector – to discover how well women are being represented in leadership roles.

The results were shocking – and embarrassing for Bristol.  The results showed that our city was lagging behind the national average in all sectors for equality of representation.  At the time of the report:
•    76% of Bristol City Councillors were male; 96% of Bristol City Councillors were white.
•    Public Sector Boards based in Bristol were almost exclusively (16/17) led by white males, despite women being 65% of the public sector workforce.
•    Private Sector Boards of Bristol‐based companies were made up predominantly of men (79%) and at least ten of the largest employers in Bristol had Boards comprised entirely of men.

Click on its title to download the report: "The Right Man for Bristol?"
Click here to read the press release accompanying the report.

Bristol Mayor

Bristol has now voted in its first elected Mayor.  During the referendum and the subsequent electoral campaign we asked:
What does the low turnout of 24% in the referendum tell us about political engagement in the city?
What might a Bristol Mayor do for local women?
What are we to make of the fact that there was only one woman candidate?
See our press release from May 2012 here.

We met with candidates and we attended many hustings to talk about how the new Mayor might work with and for women in the city. We wanted to make sure that all the candidates were counting women in, as they developed their policies and their vision for Bristol.

See the candidates' responses to questions from Bristol Women's Voice here.

What did the candidates say about women's interests and supporting women's equality?  Download our summary, with commentary, here.

Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner
How well were women represented as candidates?
What do we want the PCC to do for women?
Who will make sure that women's voices are heard?

In March 2012 we wrote to the leaders of the five local authorities comprising the Avon and Somerset Police Area, about representation on the Police and Crime Panel for Avon and Somerset.  Read our letter and see how they responded here

We met with all the candidates and attended many hustings to talk about how the new PCC might count women in, and tackle the crime and safety issues that impact on women.

Want to know more?
Want to join in with us?
On this site we have published some materials that are relevant to our campaign.  We had a dedicated blog for the duration of the 2012 campaign called "Wears the Shoes" - find the blog at
See our campaign on Twitter: @wearstheshoes
Get in touch: