Opinion by Tanvi Ajmera
The importance of gender imbalance in leadership roles is extremely prominent within our school. In a world that should be focused more on progression and inclusivity, the gender imbalance that is presented within council positions is upsetting, especially when leaders are not able to live up to the expectations that a specific batch wants.The most recent video produced by BTV addresses the gender imbalance that exists within council and leadership positions at ISM. As a broader community, although ISM is a well integrated and non-gender-segregated school, there have been conspicuous cases for the disparity and variance within members elected within different organisations at ISM.
In this BTV video, three female representatives from different grade-level councils discuss the importance of female representation within the student body at ISM. Various candidates agree with the claims of “meme[ing] the system” within voting, but believe that “students don’t go into [voting] with the idea of only voting for” a specific gender. Though I agree with these statements, I found myself questioning the blatant and non-scientific explanations regarding men’s natural ability to gain power due to the presence of “testosterone” in their system, or the “masculinity” they possess. This opinion, I believe, should have been contradicted with female presidents of councils that have the ability to affect change over a large group of people, as well as the mention of various female leaders and politicians around the world.
However, what shocked various members of the ISM community, including me, were the disturbing (and now disabled) comments from angry and heavily opinionated viewers. Everyone was shocked by their forceful and unshaking opinions. One viewer’s comment stood out to me the most. This specific viewer wrote that “women are simply not made for leadership roles,” and that they should rather “just start a family” rather than identifying with “marxist ideals.” To label this comment as sexist would be an extremely small offense. As well as being sexist, this comment was made on uneducated facts, biased opinions and blatant falsehoods.
I highly disagree with what is said above. The claim that women “simply not being made for leadership roles” is incorrect on various levels. I, personally, am involved in various activities at ISM – those include councils, general interest clubs, and volunteering programs. To add on to that, I work diligently with my peers to achieve collective goals – a leadership quality that almost every student at ISM possesses. On a global level and being completely outside of ISM, if women like Emma Watson, Malala Yousafzai, Michelle Obama, and Anna Tibaijuka, to name a few, didn’t exist, then the world would not be where it is. Educational programs, campaigns, human rights awareness outreach programs would not have been achieved because the world would have been stripped of its empowered and strong female leaders. Not only does this claim act as an argument towards the opinion about women not being made for leadership roles, but also contradicts the argument about no human being made for leadership roles. Within the twenty first century, encountering people that have these traditionalist opinions that are supported with inaccurate data and non-scientific claims, is extremely surprising, especially when an issue of gender inequality and imbalance is compared to “marxist ideals.” Overall, dear sexist viewer, your claims seem a tad bit orthodox and nonprogressive, don’t you think? In a world that wants to cherish equality with women’s marches and march for life campaigns, isn’t it a little pathetic to say that women should “fulfil their duties” and “just start a family?” Sorry not sorry, but I would think so.
Reading the misogynistic and sexist opinions in the comment section made me furious to say the least, and I hope that members of our progressive and evolving community can understand that leadership is what an individual makes of it, and there should be no discrimination or bias towards involving people in power. Though this video is centered mainly around the ISM bubble and sphere of influence, it raises questions about the accuracy and reliability of traditionalist values that are paralleled with historical opinions of people living in the dark ages, gender roles, and the importance of progression within our society and the whole world.