AN information session to be held at Bathurst Regional Council on Tuesday night will again explore one of life's great mysteries: why do so few women appear interested in running for council?
And while it's probably too much to ask for a single session to produce a definitive answer, what organisers do hope will come from it is a core group of women ready to commit to contesting next September's local government elections.
We can only hope, but even that would be just a start. Because even after women take the brave step of putting their hand up to run for council, history shows that Bathurst does not generally support female candidates in great numbers - and that can only be to the region's detriment.
It's long been acknowledged that women have different life experiences to men and different expectations of what council should deliver for the community.
They bring a different perspective to council and a different style of exploring and debating issues.
At a time when our council has rarely been more divided, you might think that could only be a good thing.
Even more concerning, though, than the lack of women on council is the relative lack of women in political leadership roles across all tiers of government.
Bathurst currently has just two female councillors out of nine, and in recent years there have times when that number was just one.
It is no better at state and federal level. There has never been a female Member for Calare, nor Member for Bathurst.
It's a story repeated many times over across the state and the country but one that does our community a disservice.
It's not a question of ability and, with women making up half the population (actually, slightly more across Australia) it should not be a question of numbers.
So it can only be a question of desire, of not enough women wanting to enter politics. And cracking the mystery of just how we can get more women into politics needs to become a focus for all levels of government.
Politics works best when the elected officials most closely reflect the communities they represent. That is not happening at present.
So many women have so much to offer Australian politics that it only makes sense to find a way to get them involved.
And sooner rather than later.
What do you think?
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