Volume 94, Issue 76
Wednesday, February 7, 2001
Women left out of political play pen, again
The University Students' Council presidential sausage party has arrived and sadly, for the second year in a row, there are no female candidates in sight.
The absence of women from the campaign for the highest student position on this campus is both disconcerting and disappointing. Though in recent years many fine women have held positions on the board as a VP of this or that, none have put their hat in the ring for the top job since Emily Chung's unsuccessful attempt in 1999.
Although it would be easy to sit back and say, in your gentlest vote-for-me-because-I'm-a-sensitive-guy tone of voice, "I really don't understand why there aren't women running, but I'll do my best to find out if I get elected," the USC needs to do some serious soul-searching in order to get to the root of the problem.
At last Thursday's forum in the University Community Centre, for example, one candidate in particular (we'll call him Geoff Greenall) responded that if he had a day off to do whatever he wanted, he would spend it doing what he's best at "macking." How enlightened of him.
Another candidate, who seems to share Greenall's penchant for toilet humour and whose name conveniently rhymes with Ryan Windsor, was asked to explain his idea about organizing a beach volleyball tournament on the Concrete Beach. His intention: To see, "more chicks in bikinis."
Perhaps some of the blame for the absence of women candidates should fall directly on the shoulders of women themselves. After all, whose fault is it if they don't feel comfortable being in student government; where aggressive women with original ideas and true leadership abilities are marginalized to the periphery of power?
Perhaps, like one candidate has suggested, the USC needs to have a leadership conference for women in order to encourage them to participate in the political arena. But why then did this same candidate not raise an objection when two of his fellow candidates made inappropriate comments about women at last Thursday's forum?
In an election with no female candidates, but thousands of female voters, men need to be held accountable for their comments and behaviour, as well as those of their fellow candidates.
Although I do not place blame for the lack of female candidates on the seven candidates currently in the race, a president must take responsibility for the political climate in which he rules. Gender needs to be removed from this issue. Men, as well as women, need to take responsibility for the lack of females in this race.
One thing is for sure, don't look to the sausage party for answers because many of them are admittedly clueless. That's the problem. How can these guys adequately represent half of the student body if they have no idea what's inhibiting them from being politically active?
Obviously, and this clearly applies to some of the candidates more than others, they are completely out of touch with many of the people whose votes they are so gallantly trying to seduce.
Yet until a woman stands up, puts her foot down, raises her voice, throws her name in the hat and ends the absurdity that has marred this campaign so far, the circle jerk will continue.
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