Guest column: Women’s leadership at Iowa State

Latif Masud

While other forms of diversity, such as racial, ethnic and gender diversity, are continually discussed and celebrated, I’ve always felt that the lack of women in leadership positions is something that we as a society do not talk enough about.

Take Iowa State as an example. Of the 33,241 students, men account for 54 percent of the student population, while women make up the other 46 percent. This basically means that we have a 1:1 ratio between males and females across campus, so basic math would tell you that leadership positions should be equally occupied by both men and women, yet that is not the case.

I will use the Government of the Student Body as an example because the leaders are elected by students all across campus and because they are the representatives of the student body. Of the 46 senators elected, only 10 are women, while the other 36 are men. Realize that this fact doesn’t reflect poorly on GSB as an organization and GSB representatives I have spoken to over the last few years have always expressed their concern about it. Instead, this fact reflects poorly on us, the student body because we are the ones not electing women into leadership roles.

To be clear, I don’t believe that Iowa State students are sexist by any means, and the fact that we chose women for the roles of president of the Graduate Professional Student Senate and the vice president of GSB is proof of that. What I do think needs to happen is that student organizations need to do a better job of recruiting women and students—both male and female—need to be more aware of the problem and should encourage one another to get involved.

As the president of the International Student Council, I have had the opportunity to work with some incredible women. In fact, 15 of the 23 officers and co-chairs that makeup ISC are women. These women have shown me that, when it comes to leadership, there is no difference between a man and a woman, and it is because of these women that I decided to dedicate this column to talk about the issue. I know that they have made my job a lot easier and introduced new perspectives and ideas to my organization, and I would hope other leaders all across campus realize the potential of having a gender diversified organization.

The International Student Council will be celebrating their annual fall tradition, International Week, from Friday, Nov. 15 to Thursday, Nov. 21. Please visit ISC’s website for more information.