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A Magazine for Sheffield

Bex Whyman On being the only woman in the mayoral race

The Green Party candidate for South Yorkshire mayor is conscious of the lack of diversity in those who are standing for the position this year.

Bex Whyman - South Yorkshire Mayor Green Party candidate

When the candidates for South Yorkshire mayor were announced, I was frustrated but not surprised to see a sea of white men and one single woman on the ballot paper. Bex Whyman, the woman in question, had the same reaction:

To be honest, it didn’t surprise me. And it’s one of the reasons that I wanted to stand, to make sure that we, as women, have got a voice. And I think it’s really important. So it didn’t surprise me at all. It’s just a bit disappointing.

The mayoral candidate for the Green Party, Whyman, a business analyst, is more interested in the job of mayor than she is in the campaigning to get there. She just wants to get stuck in, but is enjoying meeting people and hearing their concerns and priorities. She is also conscious that gender is not the only area in which the candidates are lacking in diversity. She told Now Then,

There is a distinct lack of diversity among candidates. And it just means that we’re not reflecting our electorate, ultimately. Only 26% on average of the whole electorate vote in itself. So it’s about ultimately trying to engage more in minority spaces. I feel like a minority though I’m 50% of the population, being a woman. But I still feel like a minority. So ultimately, if everyone can band together, and we can do some real reaching out and have lots of conversations, over consultation, to try and get people more engaged. I think that that would be wonderful.

Bex Whyman

Green Party candidate Bex Whyman.

The diversity question looms large for Whyman, who recently came out as pansexual, to a mostly positive response.

I think it’s a real small minority of people that feel a bit strange about it, a bit, that it’s a little bit different. But for the most part, just hugely and widely accepted, which is very nice, actually.

She discovered this aspect of herself when a friend suggested she look into pansexuality, which just clicked for her.

I was like, I think I’m pansexual, it’s quite a bizarre feeling, but it felt very natural. And it felt that then I had some belonging.

She also felt a responsibility to be open in order to “be really transparent” and “get those conversations going”.

Overall, as well as representing her party, Whyman wants to represent women and encourage more to stand, to address the very issue she’s facing: being the only woman in a six-person race.

I would absolutely love to do a kind of politics that includes everybody. Why can’t we make it so that it is inclusive, rather than oppressive? Because that’s what it feels like.

Ultimately, I want to get more women in power. That is one of the main reasons that I’m standing because you can’t be something if you can’t see it. I want to empower women out there to do what I do. Because it can be done.

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