Bridging the Gender Gap

Welcome back to campus! It has been a long summer hiatus for our blog, but we’re looking forward to getting started again.

The year has already gotten off to a busy but productive start with elections for the Yard and House representatives in the Undergraduate Council. In recent years, the Undergraduate Council has been making improvements in bridging the gender representation gap. In 2010-2011, there were only 12 women out of 51 total members in the council. Ever since then, the Undergraduate Council has been making a concerted effort to address this problem.

In their report, the UC gender parity goals state:

“Fostering woman leadership within the UC itself will serve to provide Underclassmen with female role models, which has been sociologically proven to make them more likely to strive to fill leadership positions-­whether this means running for election in the first place, or, for instance, running for a subcommittee chair position.”

Keeping this in mind, the Women’s Center and the Undergraduate Council decided to highlight a prominent female representative in the UC to serve as a role model for women considering elections. We promoted a short video featuring the UC vice-president Pratyusha Yalamanchi ’13 who gave a short statement about the valuable perspective women bring to government.

According to their 2011 Gender Parity Report, the 2011 Fall Election saw a small increase in female yard and house representatives although there was also an overall decrease in the number of declared candidacies. This year, however, the UC reported 90 declarations, 45 male and 45 female. In the houses 27 female and 23 male candidates were running for election. The gender gap between underclass candidates has lessened considerably: 22 underclass male and 18 underclass female candidates. Due in part to several gender parity efforts, females now represent 42% of the winning candidates, as compared to only 33% in 2011 and 23% in 2010.

Our video merited its own article on the front page of the Crimson and as the numbers show, played a small part in highlighting women’s leadership on campus. Small steps have been taken towards promoting gender parity in elections, and we look forward to seeing more women take up leadership positions this year. Good luck to the new representatives and we hope to see some of you in Canaday “B” basement during the year!

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