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.
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, 33% 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 belong – When 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.
Shelaine was Chair of the Guernsey Disability Alliance from 2009-16. She is a member of the Complaints Panel.
Martina is Asst Bursar of Blanchelande College. She was part of La Houguette Primary School Committee for six years.
Jo is a self-employed compliance consultant, a member of the Complaints Panel and soon to be a Castel Douzenier.
Linda runs her own communications consultancy. She was a Women's Develop't Forum committee member.
Paul is a documentary photographer. He is a member of the Guernsey Photography & Literary Festival committees.
Deputy Tina Bury
Tina is Vice-President of the Committee for Health and Social Care and a member of Employment and Social Security.
Zoe is an accountant and St Peter Port's Senior Constable. She was a director of Guernsey Football Assn for three years.
Our ambassadors and advisers
Deputy Sasha K-Miller
Sasha is a member of Economic Development and the Development and Planning Authority.
Hana is a Senior Associate in the Guernsey Employment Law practice of Mourants. She is a Douzenier for St Andrew's.
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 Anti-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.
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 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.
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 please donate now to play your part.
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 our membership form.
You don’t have to become a formal member just to keep in touch with us. Click here to join our mailing list.