The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday December 5th

Women student body presidents in minority nationwide

W.H. Oxendine Jr., executive director of the association, said that in the 2011-12 school year, women represented 42.5 percent of student body presidents, as opposed to nearly 52 percent of all student government members.

Only slightly more men than women held the role of student body vice president, he said.

He said the increase in female participation in student government correlates with women’s overall college enrollment numbers being higher than men’s.

The data also show that women outnumber men in treasury, secretary and committee government positions, Oxendine said.

UNC’s executive branch of officers comprises two women and five men, including Student Body President Andrew Powell.

“Female representation — as of every aspect of recruiting, if you have any gaps where certain groups aren’t participating, you miss out on a huge pool of talent,” Powell said.

He said he thinks UNC’s student government does a good job with equal representation.

Georgetown University selected an executive team made up entirely of women in 2012, but current Student Body President Trevor Tezel said in an email that the team’s previous makeup did not impact his selection of an executive staff, which represents both genders fairly evenly.

Tezel said Georgetown offers support to potential women leaders through Elect Her, an American Association of University Women program that trains women to run for office with role-playing exercises.

“Often, qualified women will not run because they are not asked to do so, and they do not feel qualified,” said Omika Jikaria, student body vice president at Georgetown.

Tezel said the number of women in executive positions might be indicative of the future.

“It is alarming to me that there is such a discrepancy in representation, especially considering that this might be an indication of how the makeup of our national and state legislatures and executive branches will look 20, 30 or 40 years from now,” he said.

Anita Simha, UNC sophomore and vice president for campus community for the UNC-system Association of Student Governments, said in an email she finds the lack of women’s representation on a national scale alarming.

Simha said that even when schools do not have a female student body president, they usually have female student government members who are part of the ASG delegation.

“I don’t think the onus needs to be put on female students to step up,” Simha said. “I think we need to expose injustices that females across the board and especially from certain demographics face from a very young age.”

state@dailytarheel.com



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