Here come the girls

**As Zoe Buckland crossed the stage to receive the torch of Sports Officer from Bam, I felt a mixture of surprise and admiration. I wish I could say I watched the transition from brilliant female Sports Officer to yet another female Sports Officer without a shred of flabbergasted astonishment, but unfortunately we live in a world where the marriage of women and sports is still to be found in couples’ counselling. Thankfully, the University of Warwick seems to be above this, and so my admiration for our progressive student population could only follow.**

{{ quote UK-wide political representation of women in politics is lower than countries we consider ourselves so superior to such as: Iraq, Kazakhstan and Mozambique }}

And this admiration didn’t stop there. As the elections night went on, Sabb position after Sabb position saw women storming the polls and taking the crowns: Erin Davies took Education, Cathryn Turhan took Welfare and Campaigns, and Lucy Gill took Postgraduate Officer which equates to a female majority of four to three.

Some people have suggested that the very fact that we’re pleasantly surprised at having a female majority of Sabbs shows how much work is yet to be done for equality in politics. Of course, a mere glance at UK-wide political representation proves them right – with a lower representation of women in politics than even countries we consider ourselves so superior to, such as Iraq, Kazakhstan and Mozambique – the UK has a lot to answer for.

However, university is a completely different environment. Gone are the belching backbenchers, outdated in all senses of the word; in their place stroll fresh-faced freshers up to their cartilage piercings in ideals and libertarianism. Hey, at university, there are _men_ who are _Feminists_!

Here at Warwick, our liberal ideals and yet-to-be disillusioned hearts won out, and we have shown that we vote in candidates for their manifestos, and not for their gender.

Unfortunately, out of five candidates, there were no female candidates for President this year. In fact, in three years of SU elections, only two out of 19 candidates for President have been female. There are manifold possibilities for why this might be, but in many ways there is very little we can do about it.

This year’s Women’s Officer, Alys Cooke, wrote a blog post encouraging women to run for Sabb positions, and there are plans for future work to this end. The problem is, you have to want to be President to run for it, and perhaps there just aren’t women who want it.

That said, it is unlikely at best that the only reason women aren’t running is because they don’t fancy it. There will be potential candidates out there who are put off or intimidated by a male-dominated environment. However, this year we are finally in a position to change this. When I arrived at the university, the outgoing sabbatical board consisted of six men and one woman.

This year, Silkie, Bam and Anna paved the way for balancing the scales three to four, and next year women will hold the sway with four to three. Leaps and bounds, but we must make the most of this, and we must act to cultivate an atmosphere in which women feel ready, supported and confident to run for SU President.

We should be proud: of our candidates, our Sabbs, and our progressive politics. Yet despite this pride we should feel at voting in such a brilliant and equal board, I hope that we can see next year’s oestrogen-filled Sabbs wall not as a miracle or an anomaly, but as an occurrence that, with any luck, will be a dull everyday occurrence for SU politics henceforth.
Now that we have broken the representation barrier, let the barrier dissolve.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that, male or female, the best candidates can and do win. And I am sure we will see that they have.


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