INVERCLYDE’S Women for Council campaign says it has encouraged more females than ever to stand for election next month.

There are 11 female candidates across Inverclyde, with five women competing in one ward alone.

The district had just one female councillor from 2012-17.

The number of elected members will increase to 22 in the May 4 poll, while the wards will increase from six to seven.

Women outnumber men in the Inverclyde South poll, and are contesting seats in six wards. A spokesperson for the campaign group said women were ‘breaking the mould’ in Inverclyde politics.

She said: “Our year-long campaign has brought some improvement in Inverclyde, although more needs to be done to reach the ideal of 50:50 and to begin the change to a more gender-balanced politics.

“The women come from a wide range of political backgrounds and opinions, and some have been supporters of Women for Council’s campaign to get more women involved in local politics.”

The spokesperson continued: “In Inverclyde South, three supporters of the Women for Council campaign, Vaughan Jones (Independent), Natasha Murphy (Labour) and Agnes McAuley (SNP), will battle it out with Anne Duffy (Scottish Liberal Democrats) and Maureen McNeil (Scottish Conservative and Unionists) to make history.

“When residents of Inverclyde South cast their votes, they will be given a real chance to improve female representation on Inverclyde Council.

“At present, Inverclyde is well below the national council average of 24 per cent female representation.

“Other wards in Inverclyde will also get their chance to elect a woman. Supporters of the Women for Council campaign, for example, are standing in wards four and five – Elizabeth Robertson for the SNP and Lynne Quinn as an independent.”

Women for Council are planning to hold an all-women hustings towards the end of this month. A date and venue has still to be announced.

The spokesperson added: “All Inverclyde female candidates will be invited to attend, and it is hoped it will excite more interest in female representation locally.”