A student whose comments over the lack of female presidents running in the YUSU Elections sparked a storm hit back today saying: “If we continue tackling sexism then more women will run for prominent YUSU roles.”
Rebecca Saw, a Goodricke interactive media student, came under fire for a tweet she sent out saying that it was “appalling” that no female students had run in the YUSU Elections.
It's appalling that all the candidates for YUSU president are male. Appalling.
— Rebecca Saw (@RebeccaSees) February 9, 2015
Speaking to York Vision for the first time since, she said: “I personally didn’t run in the elections because I am only a first year and I think it’s generally agreed on that you need a few years experience of being a student to do a good job as a full time officer.
“If you want to look for reasons why no women ran for president, you don’t need to look further than the sexism that was targeted at women on the Twitter Wall during the Candidate Debate.
“I think when women consider whether to put themselves in the public eye, they are aware that it’s very likely they will face abusive comments based purely on their gender. YUSU President is the highest profile position so that is where this problem is biggest.
“In my opinion, it is a problem that is faced throughout society. I think YUSU generally do a brilliant job of promoting Women’s, BME and other minorities’ rights. I was impressed by the number of women running in other roles, and I am hopeful that if we continue tackling sexism then more women will run for prominent YUSU roles.”
One of the comments on the York Vision article claims that the lack of women in the lineup shouldn’t be blamed on the white males who chose to run and calls on York’s feminists to work together to get a female YUSU President.
Garnering over 100 votes, the comment says: “If you cared as much as you make out you do, you would have ran. Hypocrites.
“Stop blaming ‘the system’, and start realising that YOU have contributed to this problem.”
Another commenter says that “in the end its up to every single individual to consider running.”
The last female YUSU President was Anne-Marie Canning who was elected in 2007, with every President since being a male.
Despite this, 55% of students at the university are women.
Ananna Zaman, who is currently running for YUSU Women’s officer said that: “There are reasons women don’t go for president which says a lot about our university and society in general, and when people ask ‘Why didn’t you run?’, it really doesn’t help.”
Students go to the polls from today in the latest YUSU Elections.