SEVERAL county groups are encouraging more women to get involved in local politics.

The Green Party, It’s Our County and several Independents are among those hoping to make Herefordshire Council more representative of the local population.

As it currently stands, only 15 of the 52 councillors are women while there are an estimated 98 men for every 100 women in the county.

Councillor Marcelle Lloyd-Hayes, who is stepping down this year, said it was quite a daunting experience when she was first elected some 24 years ago.

“There weren’t many women at all,” she said.

“It was very male, stale and pale and I think there is still a thing about women being in powerful positions.

“Women find common ground, compromise and help find solutions that men don’t.”

Herefordshire Women’s Equality Group are also calling on residents to help get more women elected.

A group spokesperson said: “People often wrongly assume that women are not interested in politics.

“Too often, however, women are already too busy looking after children, families and older relatives, and holding down a job, as well as bearing the brunt of nine years of austerity, which has hit the services women use hardest.

“In addition, women, who might think of getting involved in Herefordshire, are presented with a sea of mostly grey haired, mostly male councillors, and the message is that this is not a place for people like me.

“However, studies have shown that women need more encouragement.

“They are half as likely as men

to consider being a candidate for elected office, and they need to be asked three times before they consider it.”