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U of A study looks at lack of women on students’ union

By Admin User on October 5, 2017

A new study at the University of Alberta shows women and members of minority groups are less likely to run in student elections. According to the study, women show just as much interest as men in running for the Students’ Union; however, the number of women that actually run is still very low.

“Women often identify a lack confidence in deciding to run. There’s no imbalance when it comes to an interest in running between men and women. The interest is there, it’s just it’s perceived lack of knowledge,” said Shane Scott, the Students’ Union VP of Academics and one of the study’s research analysts.

The study found three main reasons why women are not running despite the high interest shown:

  • lack of knowledge
  • lack of skill
  • lack of confidence

The study was prompted by the lack of women in the University’s Executive Council between 2005 and 2016. After noticing the absence of woman on the executive from 2010 to 2014, a group of students started the research project last December.

Students in the U of A’s Department of Research and Political Affairs handed out general surveys to 2,000 participants, including women currently involved in school politics, women interested in being involved, student councillors and past executives.

In response to the study’s findings, the Students’ Union launched a program called STRIDE, a program that offers workshops for women interested in running in future student elections.

“Women get together in a group in person and they move through a variety of workshops and they meet up about once a month. Every session has a different skill set associated with it. Whether, that’s how to prepare a campaign or how to find a good, solid advocacy,” Scott said.

The program is currently available only to U of A students, but the Students’ Union is working on future campaigns and projects to expand this initiative.




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