Leadership, Guilt, Gender and Apathy
Presidentials, no, not the US Primaries. The 2008 MSU Presidentials. In my opinion, there are five strong and qualified candidates running for the position of student union president. They present interesting platforms with new and exciting ideas to improve student life at McMaster. However, amidst the campaigning, poster frenzy, and rhetoric I can’t help but wonder, where are the females?
Are women just not interested in student politics on this campus? Is the MSU not catering towards the female population? Am I failing as the only female on the Board of Directors? I’m confused and filled with a sheer amount of guilt.
The last time we had a female President was in 1988-89. I’m going to let that sink in for a second. Now, I’m going to clarify my point. I realize that many women across campus have taken great strides in exhibiting strong leadership by their involvement in student life. Furthermore, I’m not saying that being a female or male should govern the presidency, or your vote, I’m purely pointing out that a significant portion of the student population is not represented in this race. Obviously the best candidate should win, I’m just disappointed that not one female believes she is the optimal candidate to represent the student voice.
Should I be surprised? In a country where female participation in politics is dismal and severely underrepresented, why should it be different in student politics? When politics is still about race and gender in the United States, is there any chance for the next generation to bring about change? I know, I know, my articles end up asking more questions than answers, but I am so distraught. And I haven’t even touched the student apathy issue.
I want this all to change, and the only way I can accomplish this is to explain why I love the MSU so much. Believe me, I don’t use the word love loosely. I’m going try and refrain from being preachy, but you need to understand why I am so passionate about this organization, and why you should be as well.
The McMaster Students Union is a student government and a corporation created to enhance student life at McMaster. Our services range from Quarters, Union Market, Undercovers, SHEC, SWHAT, EFRT to Diversity Services, the Childcare Centre, MAC Bread Bin, this very newspaper, and the list goes on. We lobby internally to the university on behalf of students regarding academics and overall student life. We lobby municipal, provincial, and federal governments to ensure student concerns are addressed. As President, you are the caretaker of everyone involved or affected by one or more of these services. Without the MSU, this campus would be a cold, dark, boring place, and I am not exaggerating.
This organization is directly and indirectly enhancing your student experience. This is why you should care. This is why you should ask candidates the tough questions. This is why you should go out and vote. And this is why the female population at McMaster should run for president. I am asking you from the bottom of my nerdy, student politics loving heart, to consider yourself worthy enough to run in the upcoming Student Representative Assembly Elections. Or run for a Vice President position. Or consider yourself a presidential candidate for 2009. Do not continue to make politics about race or gender. Show this nation that women are just as capable and passionate about politics as men.
I cannot believe it’s 2008 and we’re still here. All right, I’m getting off the soapbox.