No female candidates in WLUSU election

When the names of those running for the positions of Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union president and board of directors were announced last week, a troublesome fact became apparent. Of the 18 candidates running in the election, none were women.

Considering that Laurier is 60 per cent female, this just doesn’t add up. One could easily try to brush this off as a random phenomenon or an unlikely coincidence, but a lack of female involvement in student politics at Laurier is nothing new.

When current president Laura Sheridan was elected last year, she became only the seventh female president of the students’ union in the university’s history; a woman had not held the role since the early 1990s.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reasons why females don’t get involved in university politics as much as their male peers – maybe they don’t like the spotlight of the campaign; maybe they have seen few female role models in this position before; maybe they don’t want to involve themselves in this type of role – but the fact remains that this is a problem.

Women need to be politically active at the university level if they are going to be politically-involved members of society upon graduation.

In a way, WLUSU is a microcosm of Canada’s political problem.

In 2008, it was reported that women only held 22 per cent of the seats in parliament, which put Canada in 45th place internationally in terms of women’s representation in government.

Much to the detriment of adequate representation, Laurier women have shied away from having their voice heard in policy and governance, reflecting the general female population’s lack of the same service federally.

A female voice is always important to have, and it’s sad to see that WLUSU will be severely lacking this in the 2010-11 year. Although there may be some women board candidates since nominations have been extended until today at 12 p.m., the fact that so few females were willing to run in the first place is disheartening.

Although female engagement is certainly not lacking on campus – a large number of women hold co-ordinator and vice-president positions in the students’ union – women need to find the confidence to step forward and run for representational positions with WLUSU.

Only when women make up a proportionate number of candidates will WLUSU be able to be truly representative of Laurier’s students.