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About Us 

What we do

Women in Public Life launched in January 2020 to inspire and support 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 50.5% of the local population but only 20% of States Members, 29% of Douzeniers and 38% 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.

Who we are

Our committee

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 Lisa Vahey

Lisa Vahey

Secretary

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

Paul Chambers

Paul Chambers

Paul is a documentary photographer. He is a member of the Guernsey Photography & Literary Festival committees.

Portrait of Tina Bury

Deputy Tina Bury

Tina is Vice-President of the Committee for Health and Social Care and a member of Employment and Social Security.

linda rolf

Linda Rolf

Linda runs her own communications consultancy. She was a Women's Develop't Forum committee member.

Our ambassadors and advisers

Portrait of Sasha Kazantseva-Miller

Deputy Sasha K-Miller

Ambassador

Sasha is a member of Economic Development and the Development and Planning Authority.

Portrait Rhian 2

Rhian Tooley

Ambassador

Rhian was Vice-President of Health and Social Care and a member of Education, Sport and Culture from 2016-20.

Collas Crill - personnel -

Hana Plsek

Legal adviser

Hana is a Senior Associate in the Guernsey Employment Law practice of Mourants. She is a Douzenier for St Andrew's.

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.

Our work is an example of Positive Action which is specifically permitted by Guernsey’s current Sex Discrimination in Employment Ordinance and by proposals for a new Discrimination Ordinance.

Positive action is 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 registered with the Guernsey Registry (NP273) and are a member of the Association of Guernsey Charities (No. 474).

We hold annual member’s meetings at which our Chair, Treasurer and Secretary are elected.

If you would like to become a formal voting member of Women In Public Life, please print and return this form.

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.

Our constitution

Our accounts as at 30th June 2020

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

Miriam Makeba - South Africa

Nominated by: Christine James

Zenzile Miriam Makeba (1932 to 2008), nicknamed Mama Africa, was a South African singer, songwriter, actress, United Nations goodwill ambassador, and civil rights activist. Associated with musical genres including Afropop, jazz, and world music, she was an advocate against apartheid and white-minority government in South Africa. In 2020 she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 women of the century. 

South Africa is ranked 12th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 45.8% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Are you from South Africa? Please email hello@womeninpubliclife.gg if there is a social or cultural group for people from South Africa in Guernsey.

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The original image “The Hague Jazz 2008 – Miriam Makeba” by Haags Uitburo is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. 

jacinda-adern-2

Jacinda Ardern - New Zealand

Nominated by: Martin Lock

Jacinda Ardern (born 1980) has served as prime minister of New Zealand and leader of the Labour Party since 2017. In 2019, she led the country through the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings, rapidly introducing strict gun laws in response, and throughout 2020 she directed the country’s widely praised response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ardern was the world’s second elected head of government to give birth in office when her daughter was born in 2018. ‘An inspiring Prime Minister who brought a nation together with true leadership, empathy and compassion.’

New Zealand is ranked 4th in the world for percentage of women in national parliament: 48.3% (source: data.ipu.org) 

Other iconic women: Dame Whina Cooper, nominated by Claire Fisher, and Kate Sheppard, nominated by Anna Cooper.

Are you from New Zealand? You may be interested in joining the ANZACs in Guernsey Facebook group

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