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LeadHerShip Project Enables Youngster to Shadow Council Leader

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A young woman from Neath has spent the day at Neath Port Talbot Council, having been given the chance to shadow Leader Rob Jones, and take a look at the inner workings of local political life.

Student Rowena Griffiths, 18, successfully applied to take part in Chwarae Teg’s #LeadHerShip project which encourages young women to get involved in politics and realise they have the potential to make changes. Describing herself as a ‘community activist’ Rowena is passionate about helping others and has a strong community spirit. She recently created her own social enterprise where she upcycled pianos and redistributed them back into the community for everyone to enjoy.

The day saw Rowena shadow the Leader at meetings, discuss his role during a one-to-one and take a tour of the quays and meet staff. The aim was to provide first-hand experience and learning on how local government makes decisions for people living in Wales and to discuss different roles within the authority.

Women are still notably absent from many decision-making roles in Wales making up just 28% of MPs and councillors. Chwarae Teg works to ensure that women become better represented in such decision making roles. Through projects such as #LeadHerShip the charity aims to provide young women with a platform so that their voices are heard at the highest levels of Welsh politics.

Emma Tamplin, Chwarae Teg said:

“We want to give young women a real insight into the political opportunities available to them and to inspire a future generation of female leaders. We will only be able to truly address all of the issues we face as a society, when we have diverse representatives that reflect the communities we live in.”

Rowena said:

“My own volunteering work has made me realise the importance of communities, and how one person can make a difference to a space or a group of people. A shadowing day like this has enabled me to gain much needed insight into how decisions are made on a daily basis and what kinds of problems my local community are facing, therefore allowing me to focus my own personal efforts in restoring and helping these causes.”

“This opportunity of shadowing Mr Jones has expanded my knowledge on how a leader effectively leads their team, I am very grateful for this opportunity and encourage many other young women to also take opportunities like these that will expand their horizons and knowledge of the endless possibilities that we can do in the future.”

Council Leader Rob Jones, said:

“Earlier this year at Neath Port Talbot Council we demonstrated our commitment to gender equality by becoming the first local authority in Wales to sign up to Chwarae Teg’s FairPlay Employer scheme to help tackle our gender pay gap.

“I therefore welcomed the opportunity to host Rowena as a successful #LeadHerShip participant. Her community spirit is tangible and I’m sure she has a bright future ahead, hopefully in politics! I have no doubt she will inspire other young women to realise they also have the potential to be leaders and make a difference.”