Women in BUSU: political representation

Photo credit: Zoe Archambault

Photo credit: Zoe Archambault

In a traditionally male dominated field, every year there are strong women that have important roles in the politics of BUSU. Whether they are outgoing members or hoping to be elected, women are helping shape the face of BUSU politics.

Initially a medical science student, candidate for Vice President of Student Services, Raadhiyah Zowmi’s involvement with politics at Brock has shifted her career focus. Through her involvement in BUSAC and as a Brock ambassador she has seen the importance of women in politics firsthand.

“As a woman of colour especially, I think it is important that my voice is heard and I am able to represent people who are disproportionately advantaged whether it is in a smaller environment like BUSU and potentially in a larger environment,” said Zowmi.

There is no denying that politics has been a male dominated field. Being a woman in this field comes with many struggles.

“As a woman it is harder to feel like you’re bridging the appropriate gap between assertiveness and feeling like you’re being emotional. We are always taught that we shouldn’t be emotional and we should be professional in an environment where others are ‘professional’,” said Zowmi. “I think it is hard for women to feel like they can work in an environment where they are expected to constantly not express any emotion because their career will be undermined. I think that detours a lot of women from running because it can be a heated field and we don’t want to be labelled as someone who isn’t professional.”

Despite the challenges, the number of women in politics is growing. Women bring to the table a different outlook on politics and have different abilities. Additionally, having role models in this field will encourage more women to take part in politics going forward.

“I think when women see other strong women in fields that they aspire to be in, it is even more motivating. There are so many women role models in politics that I look up to. I think a lot of women see themselves aspiring to be like [these role models] and now more than ever we can see ourselves in those roles,” said Zowmi.

At Brock, BUSU has also been historically male dominated. Here too, women bring a different perspective.

“We bring just as much as our male counterparts. I think we are just as capable and I think that we offer a fresh perspective to a field that was historically male dominated. It is a motivation for women to expand their career in politics especially with certain issues. I think that some students may feel more comfortable speaking with a woman who is working in the BUSU realm. We offer a fresh perspective, we are just as capable and we bring just as much to the table,” said Zowmi.

Getting involved in politics on campus has broadened Zowmi’s career options. This is one of the many reasons students are encouraged to get involved on campus and to experience new areas they would not have normally been involved in.

“I could potentially pursue a Masters. Brock offers a dual degree MBA/MPH, Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in Public Health. I am really interested in that. It is a two-year program and I think that really bridges my career interests. So to potentially work in health admin or hospital administration would be something that could potentially interest me and I think it is a field that I would not have considered if I had not been involved with BUSU or with politics or with the student community as a whole,” said Zowmi.

It is important for women to get involved with politics and government. By being informed and by voting they can make big changes happen.

“I think that a basic knowledge of general politics is really important as someone who takes pride in being a Canadian citizen and as someone who wants to be heard as a minority. I think that being involved is very important and I strongly encourage my peers and my friends to get involved whether in BUSU politics or Canadian politics in general,” said Zowmi.

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