FEWER than one in six Scottish Conservative candidates in next month’s council elections are female, while women make up just 30 per cent of would-be councillors across all parties it is revealed today.

The figures emerged in an audit by the group Women 5050, which wants an equal gender balance among MSPs and councillors, prompting the campaigners to say female representation on councils has “flat-lined for decades”.

No party achieved a 50/50 gender split amongst its candidates.

However, Women 5050 said the Tories “continue to lag well behind” in terms of the proportion of female candidates.

The group carried out its own analysis of people standing for election to Scotland’s 32 councils on May 4 and found that in 21 wards, there are no female candidates on the ballot paper.

The Greens have the highest proportion of female candidates, with women making up 45 per cent of those running, while the SNP were second on 41 per cent.

A third (33 per cent) of Liberal Democrat candidates are women, compared to 32 per cent of Labour candidates, while just 17 per cent of Conservatives who are running for election are women. The audit found a total of 775 women are standing out of the 2,550 candidates.

Talat Yaqoob, the chair and co-founder of Women 5050, said action is needed to increase the number of women on Scotland’s councils.

Annie Wells, the Scottish Tories equalities spokeswoman, said her Women2Win campaign is encouraging more females into politics at all levels.