TORFAEN council has the highest percentage of female councillors in Gwent but members feel more can be done to make the authority more representative of the public.

Sixteen of the 44 elected members – 36.4 per cent – are female and puts the borough behind only Swansea (41.7 per cent) and Rhondda Cynon Taf (41.3 per cent) as the most gender diverse Welsh local authorities.

Following the local government elections, Monmouthshire ranks fifth in Wales with 15 (34.9 per cent).

Newport is 11th - with 15 (30 per cent).

Despite having the largest number in total - 19 - Caerphilly comes 14th with 26 per cent while only five per cent of Blaenau Gwent councillors are women, coming 20th of the 22 Welsh authorities (11.9 per cent).

Members from across the Torfaen political divide feel there is still work to do to bring the percentage closer to 50 per cent.

The mayor of Torfaen and member for Croesyceiliog South, Cllr Veronica Crick, said: “We are pleased to have increased the number of female councillors as a result of the recent election, bringing in a greater mix of age and skill ranges than before.

“Clearly there is still a noticeable gap between male and female representation overall but we hope the improved ratio will be reflected in the inputs we can give across the spectrum of council committees including cabinet over the next five years.”

Cllr Elizabeth Haynes, the independent member for St Dials, said: “I’m very pleased that Torfaen now has the highest number of female councillors in the former Gwent area, but at 16 females out of 44 councillors, we still have a long way to go for true equality.

“I am hoping that the leader of Torfaen council considers gender equality when selecting his cabinet on Tuesday, May 23.”

Cllr Joanne Gauden, the new member for Croesyceiliog North, said: “It is disappointing to read that Wales is falling behind in diversity, although not surprising with historically a low proportion of women in local politics.

“Ultimately, it is essential we achieve a gender balance of local councillors if we truly are to represent the population of Wales.”

Research from the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) Cymru and the gender equality charity Chwarae Teg confirmed that following the 2017 vote, under 28 per cent of councillors in Wales were women.

Only 70 of 252 councillors across Gwent are women.