Women in leadership
In 2014, NUS-USI brought women in leadership to the forefront of our work. We started conversations and created spaces for women to have the opportunity to tell their own stories. Women in leadership positions has been a widely felt and deeply felt an issue for many years. Year after year, we see candidates in students’ union elections and elected officers that do not reflect the diverse membership of their students’ unions. Women make up the majority of the student population yet only a handful of presidents are women. This lack of women in leadership positions has a significant impact on the number of women working in students’ unions and the charity sector as a whole and ultimately, women in high profile leadership positions. This priority also crosses the three other liberation campaigns of NUS. When we look at these three campaigns, representation of women in this area is even rarer. There is a significant lack of women in leadership positions, not just within the student movement but in society as a whole, who are black women, LGBT women and disabled women.
NUS-USI president is working with the women’s officer and student’s unions to encourage women’s participation in the student movement. We know that women in leadership positions across society are under-represented and we believe that’s because of systematic problems which need to be addressed and these are regularly challenged by the women’s campaign. However, by building this strategic priority into all areas of our work, we hope to not only have an impact in students’ union elections, but ultimately in addressing the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions in society as a whole.
The women’s campaign will be taking the following actions to ensure women are represented fairly:
- Create a women’s student network as a place for support, solidarity and encouragement
- Encourage students’ unions to promote women’s involvement in the movement
- Forge more links with women’s groups in Northern Ireland
- Continue to lobby government around the importance of diversity in all forms of education including apprenticeships and training
- Pilot a mentor scheme as part of the women in leadership programme