Two Penn’orth: Women and Politics

Females in the public and private eye just aren’t engaging in the political roles they aspire to. In the wider world, there are just 144 female MPs out of a total of 649. Concerning Warwick, take a look at this year’s Sabbatical Officers – a grand total of seven males with a distinct lack of variation in hair colour. Plenty of part-time officers are currently held by women, but this year’s election nominations have declined down a male-orientated route once more.

Why is it that half of the part-time officers are women, demographics show the split of students overall to be equal, yet there are almost double the number of male Union councillors as female? It’s not that females aren’t actively seen – check out the amount of female staff in the Bread Oven, Costa or Curiositea. Maybe that’s a bit stereotypical, that obviously we would expect females to be serving coffee or making sandwiches. We are pretty good at it after

It’s not that any of the generic reasons for why women shouldn’t be involved apply to Warwick. Few of my female friends are keen to engage the roles of wife and mother during their degree, leaving their ‘careers’ behind them while they take maternity leave. It’s just not an applicable argument.

Do we just think men are better in general for these positions? No. Is it that women just prefer working in the catering industry and it just so happens that they engage in the same roles as a housewife or domestic assistant? Perhaps. Overall, I think it’s just that women resent society – the attitudes of the population. Casual sexism, casual racism, casual bullying. There are few people who genuinely believe that men are better than women. Full stop, debate closed. We’re in the twenty-first century here. We can’t eradicate humour from our lives, so why are we trying? Because it just might be the reason why there is still a distinct female presence in politics.

One answer might be provided in the Sky Sports scandal involving Andy Gray, Richard Keys and an lineswoman who doesn’t ‘know the offside rule’, showing the recurring trend of the acceptance of ‘lad culture’ and the derogatory comments made towards women ‘just for a laugh’. It’s a culture we’re all extremely familiar with, but that doesn’t mean it should be a laughing matter for everyone.

The answer to this lack of direct participation doesn’t lie in legislation or attitudes. Positive discrimination will only help so far as to force women into an unfamiliar and possibly patronising role, whereas social attitudes will take time to change. Instead we should focus on a push towards a grassroots campaign, encouraging women to get to the top.


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