The latest issue of UCD’s University Observer sees deputy editor, Aoife Valentine, tackle the thorny subject of gender quotas and representative inequality in student politics.
In an illuminating piece, she interviews representatives past and present to get to the core of the gender gap problem.
UCDSU Gender Equality Co-ordinator Ciara Johnson relates :
As a woman running, you are scrutinised and analysed in every single way, and while I agree that every candidate should be tested on their policy, experience, ideas and aptitude, for women this seems to extend further. People judge appearance, how you dress, how you talk, how ’emotionally involved’ you are… This was something which I found to be quite shocking and startling. One person said to me at one stage that they would not vote for a woman as they would become too emotionally invested in the position and would most likely ‘end up in tears at least once a month on their hormonal roller coaster’. At another stage speaking passionately was interpreted as ‘aggression’ which was an unladylike quality. One male student told a canvasser that ‘if I lost a few pounds’ and did myself up, I ‘wouldn’t be too bad’ and another commented that if I ‘got my tits out’ he’d vote for me. I am positive that none of this would have been said had I been male. If women witness this kind of behaviour and attitude towards other women, why would they want to run?
The full article appears online at the University Observer