It’s calibre not gender that counts in candidates

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There is little doubt that a little female intuition is often priceless in any institution, organisation, or household. Many men can learn from females throughout both their education and careers, and whilst there may be competition there is now almost always acceptance and respect between the two sexes. The organisational skills and differences of perspective alone are in themselves testament to the benefits of inclusive business, government, and learning.

Of course there are counter arguments that mainly stem from the misguided view that women at any level will distract men; this view being crucial in the decision to keep female troops off the front line. However whilst in the years directly succeeding puberty such an argument may hold some strength it is naive to maintain that modern day men cannot comfortably work with women due to their raging hormones. Not only is this view unrealistic of the majority of modern society it is also pretty damaging to the reputation of males in general. So, evidently, a student union comprised entirely of males is a bad thing?

Well no, not necessarily. It is obviously true that such a coalition lacks representation and diversity which could prove vital in the productivity of the organisation, we must also consider one other factor, motivation. Whilst in national government there are many arguments attached to the issue of female representation within party elites such debate cannot be fully applied to Lancaster Student Union. The reason for this is that such prejudices do not exist in student level politics. Money and family ties do not play a part either. There is equal opportunity for anyone from any background to compete in the student union elections and to win, however if they do not want to compete and win then there is not much point of them doing so.

Whilst it is all well and good constructing a union based on diversity in order to maximise potential and representation, if such a move is likely to decrease potential then it is probably better to avoid it. It is easy to look at a list of candidates and become concerned due to a lack of females, and to an extent it is right to be so, however when you analyse this fact it becomes clear why women may be less represented. Just like the fact people named Ben may be absent, or people with size eight feet may be absent, the lack of women is almost certainly not a reflection of anything more than a lack of willingness to fill a role. Shockingly it may even be entirely coincidental.

It is very unlikely that, given the demographic being dealt with and the time we live in, women feel a significantly greater level of pressure to compete in SU elections than men. Whilst it is obviously true that the fact women are not standing is disappointing and detrimental to the output of the SU. It would be far more damaging to the union if people were pressured into standing when they lack the necessary motivation needed in order to do the best they can in a particular role. It is clear that the candidates standing are willing to give their all and in turn the elections will prove who is best suited to fill the roles. However unfortunately if people do not want to stand then they cannot be made to stand and if that leads to an entirely male student union then so be it.

So yes, an entirely, or majority, male student union is a bad thing, but it is certainly better than anything else. The list of candidates is not just a list of numerous males and one female; it is a list of the most willing people. The issue of representation is not as important as it at first may seem. Perhaps the issue is more who we should be voting for rather than who we can’t vote for.

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