Improved Leadership and Representation – 9th June 2014, Union Council (Ref: 1314P28)
This policy was referred, by the meeting of Open Council on 14th May, to Union Council for a decision.
This Union Notes:
- The Leadership and Representation Policy (1213P16) requires Union Council to reserve roles for the male and female gender binaries.
- Some women that have run for “female reserved” spaces have felt patronised as they were prevented from running against men.
- Special attention was required when a trans-woman intended to run for a female space, and this election caused minor confusion amongst councillors.
- Our Valuing Diversity Policy (1011P19) states that “every student and staff member is treated fairly and have equality of opportunity within the union”.
- An idea submitted to the 2014 AGM proposing to extend the Leadership and Representation Policy’s practice of “boxing” gender roles received a net vote of -43 (69% of the vote being against) and was subsequently withdrawn.
- An idea submitted to the 2014 AGM proposing to overturn the Leadership and Representation Policy’s practice received a net vote of +105 (83% of the vote being for), making it the fourth highest ranked idea.
- Historically, abolishing segregation based on race or gender has been viewed as a progressive step towards equality.
This Union Believes:
- That all members of SUSU, regardless of sex, gender, or gender expression, are equal and should be represented as equal.
- Rigidly dividing elections between two genders creates an illusion of there being separate and incompatible standards for the same position and does not constitute “equality of opportunity”.
- The male and female gender binary does not fully represent the members of SUSU.
- Requiring trans people to prematurely out themselves, or demanding that those that do not identify with a gender binary chose a male/female space, for the purpose of election is wrong.
- Elections are meant to emphasise the candidates’ competence and ability to perform their desired roles and not other characteristics.
This Union Resolves:
- To lapse the Leadership and Representation Policy (1213P16).
- To widen the participation of women in SUSU’s democratic processes.
- To implement initiatives that encourage women to engage in SUSU’s politics.
- To continue to encourage the engagement of women, by requiring:
- At least 50% of the open councillor positions listed in Rule 2 (Decision Making) section 4.2(f) shall be held by self-identifying women.
- For each of the cohorts listed in Rule 2 (Decision Making) section 4.2(e), at least one position will be held by a self-identifying woman.
- The remaining 50% of Union Councillor positions (as specified in sections 4.2(e) and 4.2(f) of Rule 2 (Decision Making)) will be open to any Full Member eligible under Rule 7 (Elections) section 6.1.
This Union Mandates:
- VP Student Communities to research reasons for a lack of participation amount under-represented groups, the barriers which these groups face, and methods to reduce and remove these barriers.