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About Us 

What we do

Women in Public Life inspires and supports the women of Guernsey to stand for public office.

We are a group of local volunteers – women and men.

We are not a political party or association – we support all women regardless of their political viewpoint.  We don’t endorse or fund any candidate for any role.

We give women information about public office opportunities and encourage and support them to consider putting themselves forward.

By ‘public office’ we mean roles created by legislation or policy to which members of the public are elected or appointed.  Not just Deputies, Douzeniers and Jurats – but also committees, panels, commissions and tribunals.

Why we're needed

People in public office make important decisions on behalf of everyone in the Island.  Yet in many public office roles, women are significantly under-represented.  Women are 50% of the population but only 30% of States Members, 20% of Douzaines and 25% of Jurats.

When women put themselves forward for interview or election, they are just successful as men. The problem is that not enough women stand in the first place.

Something is stopping them and Guernsey is losing out on talent and experience as a result.

We’re working to identify those barriers and to help overcome them.

Some of women’s reluctance could apply to anyone – limited knowledge of the roles that are available, busy lives, concern about being exposed to public scrutiny in a small island.

But women experience some specific barriers that aren’t as common for men:

1. Women think they have to be perfect – internal research by Hewlett Packard showed that women assume they need to meet 100% of the criteria for a job before they apply, whereas a man will apply if he meets 60% of the criteria. Talented women are holding themselves back.

2. Women don’t feel they belongWhen women look at high-profile public office roles, they don’t see many ‘people like me’ and they can assume, either consciously or sub-consciously, that they don’t belong there.

It is these barriers, and more, that Women in Public Life wants to help overcome. We aim to make it crystal clear to women that they ARE wanted in public office and they DO have the skills.

Pie chart showing that 30% of States Members are women
Pie chart showing that 20% of Douzeniers are women
Pie chart showing that 25% of Jurats are women
Who we are
Portrait of Shelaine Green

Shelaine Green

Chair

Shelaine was Chair of the Guernsey Disability Alliance from 2009-16. She is a member of the Complaints Panel.

Zoe Lihou

Zoe Lihou

Treasurer

Zoe is an accountant and a St Peter Port Douzenier. She was a director of the Guernsey Football Association for three years.

Portrait of Richard Conder

Prof Richard Conder

Candidate mentor

Richard was a States Member from 2012-16 and Deputy Minister of Education.

Portrait of Tina Bury

Tina Bury

Support programme

Tina is an Events Manager for Specsavers. She is a serial volunteer, including for Liberate and Guernsey Voluntary Service.

Portrait of Lisa Vahey

Lisa Vahey

Candidate recruitment

Lisa is a Finance & HR Administrator at a local nursing home. She was a Douzenier in St Peter Port in 2017.

Portrait of Rachael Cumberland-Dodd

Rachael Cumberland-Dodd

Marketing and comms

Rachael is the founder of Feed Marketing. She is a member of the Guernsey Literary Festival steering group.

Portrait of Sasha Kazantseva-Miller

Sasha Kazantseva-Miller

Ambassador

Sasha is a sustainability champion, entrepreneur, non-exec director and a Business Advisor to Guernsey Ports.

Portrait Rhian 2

Deputy Rhian Tooley

Political adviser

Rhian is a Deputy for St Peter Port South. She is VP of Health and Social Care and a member of Education, Sport and Culture.

Where we fit

Women in Public Life is just one of several local initiatives to empower and support particular groups of Islanders to overcome barriers to full participation and representation in Guernsey life.

All are examples of Positive Action which is encouraged in Guernsey’s Public Consultation on Discrimination Legislation and defined as “Allowing people to take action to promote equality and address systemic disadvantage”.

It’s important to us that women who stand for public office represent the full diverse spectrum of women in the Island.  We’ve reached out to all of the groups listed and we’re grateful for their collaboration and support. Click their logos to find out more about them.

The story so far

Women in Public Life builds on and broadens the success of the Power of the Voice campaign that helped increase female representation in the States from 11% to 30% at the 2016 general election.

The founder of Power of the Voice campaign was Deputy Yvonne Burford who was  Environment Minister at the time and the only woman on the ten-person Policy Council.

Yvonne joined forces with Michelle Johansen, founder of the Women’s Development Forum, the Soroptimists (represented by Cathy Bailey) and Saboohi Familli, then head of the College of Further Education.

Roberta Blackman-Woods MP was the guest speaker at the first Power of the Voice event in November 2015 which also featured a panel discussion with Yvonne and three more of the five female Deputies who were in the States at that time.

Groups of women having discussions around small tables in the Harry Bound Room.
Similar groups worldwide

Groups similar to Women in Public Life already exist across the world and we are grateful to them for all we have learned from researching their approach.

We are particularly indebted to Women for Election (who are based in Ireland), The Parliament Project (UK) and Women for Election Australia for all their advice and support.

Funding

Everyone involved with Women in Public Life is a volunteer. No-one is paid.

We do not receive any grant funding from the States of Guernsey.

Some of our events are kindly sponsored by local businesses but our website, leaflets, advertising and other costs are funded by donations from our volunteers and from individual supporters like you.

The more funding we receive the more women we can inspire to stand for public office so donate now to play your part.

Governance

Women in Public Life Guernsey is an unincorporated not-for-profit association.

We are a membership organisation and will hold annual general meetings of our members at which our Chair, Treasurer and Secretary will be elected.

If you would like to become a formal voting member of Women In Public Life, email us at hello@womeninpubliclife.gg.

You don’t have to become a formal member just to keep in touch with us. Click here to join our mailing list or to volunteer.

As we only formed as an organisation in August 2019, we don’t yet have an Annual Report and Accounts. But here is our constitution.

Three-panel pinboard covered in Post-It notes standing on a table