Gender and Student Government

Despite the fact that women now outnumber and outperform men in college, the men still dominate campus politics. According to an article by Astrid Riecken in the Washington Post:

For the past decade, women have outpaced men on key measures of college success. They attend college and graduate at higher rates, according to several studies, and they tend to earn higher grades. Yet on many campuses, student government is dominated by men, echoing gender gaps in state and national politics.

“All of the reasons why women don’t run in college are the same reasons we see nationally,” said Kate C. Farrar of the American Association of University Women. “Women still see themselves as outsiders. They don’t see themselves as already being at the table.”

Then again, maybe women are just smarter. Campus politics are generally pretty stupid. Student government has so little authority over actual university structure that serving in student offices is mostly a waste of time for anyone truly concerned about the way the university is managed. The only real power student representatives have at most schools is the distribution of student activity fee money.

Women, even those with political ambitions, might be making a good decision in avoiding campus politics and concentrating only on their grades. Being president of the student body doesn’t lead to success in real politics.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer