Closing the (Student) Governmental Gender Gap

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When we all started college we were not only encouraged to get involved but to reach for those student leadership positions that would one day be crucial among the other activities listed on our resumes. One of the best ways for students to become a leader at their school is through the student government associations. Unfortunately, these associations seem to offer more opportunity and preference to the male students over the females.

In a statement made by the American Student Government Association, it was estimated that nationwide, only 40 percent of student government presidents in colleges (both 4-year and community college) are women. Coincidently, this also mirrors the under-representation of women in our national government – 89 out of 535 members of congress are women and there are only six female governors.

The connection? Many experts say that the lack of involvement of women in college student governments leads to the lack of women on Capitol Hill.  Some young women still believe that they are outsiders when it comes to government leadership (we still have yet to have a female U.S. president) and they often underestimate their own capabilities when in reality, surveys have proven that women actually "outpace men in key measures of college success." For the majority, more women attend and graduate college and usually earn higher grades than their male peers.

 In order to combat this growing problem, organizations such as the American Association of University Women have organized programs such as “Elect Her” which provide how-to workshops for young women interested in running for their student government associations. They are trying to reinforce the idea that women are just as (if not more) capable as men to be leaders and set examples for their peers not only in college but for the rest of their lives.   

Jocelyn Murray

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