Why are our names in this order?

We were recently asked why our names are in this order, and specifically why Alison is last when alphabetically she would be first. There are a number of reasons why the names on our site are in the order they are, and gender is not one of them.

  • The order is important, we did think about it and discuss it. We all like this order.
  • There is a lot of research about the bias and prejudice entrenched by alphabetical order e.g. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/05/29/alphabetical-name-ordering-is-discriminatory-and-harmful-to-collaborations/. Those with surname A- are 26% more successful in obtaining top jobs than those with surname Z-.
  • We work together as a team, Charles is retired and lives in Exminster, the largest community in Kenn Valley. He is often best placed to deal first with enquiries from residents.
  • Andy lives in Ide, and focuses on the villages in the North of the ward. A bigger area than Exminster but fewer people.
  • There is more to being a district councillor than responding to emails. Alison, for instance, is putting in an incredible amount of work on the possible local plan sites and has launched the very successful petition to save Markhams Farm.
  • Alan is our county councillor. We work closely with him and he shares this web site with us as district councillors. It is hard for residents to know what is a district or county issue. We omit Alan’s name in the list completely, so that we can escalate issues to him as appropriate.
  • Residents can contact any councillor, but we work together as a team and we think this order helps people to contact us.
  • The order also matches the election results in 2019 which were close with Charles fielding 1258 votes, Andy fielding 1194 and Alison 1133.
  • There are only 6 ways to put these three names in order and a third of them have the woman last. It is unfortunate that the best sequence for us happens to be one of those that could be seen as misogynistic and an example of everyday sexism. We are aware of this, and it was a compelling argument for choosing a different order, however we decided that encouraging people to contact the right person first is important and avoids people feeling “passed around” if they are redirected.

We hope this post dispels any concern.