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The women who aspire to the role of a local government councillor in rural and regional areas of Australia are still breaking new ground. This paper presents research findings, by a woman who stood for election, concerning some of the barriers women face in achieving public leadership in regional and rural local governments (‘councils’). It explores the motivation and leadership styles of six women candidates campaigning in two neighbouring all-male councils in regional New South Wales in 2017. The study used heuristic inquiry in which the researcher and participants share a personal lived experience of the issues being studied. Heuristic inquiry allowed for an intimate and creative presentation of the research. Key findings were that gender disparity was not a significant motivator for five of the six women. The main motivator was service to their community with all six women favouring a servant leader style.
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